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05 Mar 12:00

How To Handle Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

by Kristin Wong

Buying a home is a huge endeavor. The paperwork, deadlines, and research can all be a little stressful. Couple it with selling a home at the same time, and it can turn into one big, overwhelming headache. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're buying and selling a home simultaneously.


04 Mar 23:00

Carefully Decide Where to Get a Tattoo with This Pain Chart

by Patrick Allan

Tattoos are certainly not for everyone, but if you're considering one, make sure you know what you're getting into. This pain chart highlights the parts of the body that can hurt the most when the needle comes down.


04 Mar 18:30

Google CS First Teaches Kids Programming and Computer Science for Free

by Melanie Pinola

There are a wealth of ways for kids to learn computer science and programming these days. Add to the mix: Google's own CS First curriculum, a free program with a variety of themes for all kinds of kids' interests.


03 Mar 18:00

An Adult's Guide to Hygiene (for Those Who Weren't Taught Growing Up)

by Eric Ravenscraft

There are no classrooms that teach you basic hygiene growing up. Your parents may do what they can, but a surprising number of people make it to adulthood with gaps in their knowledge. We're here to help fill those gaps.


26 Feb 13:30

ASL Dictionary Shows You How to Say Words in Sign Language

by Eric Ravenscraft

Sign language can be complex to learn because movements are difficult to convey without watching someone do them. This video dictionary helps you learn new words in sign language with actual humans demonstrating the movements.


19 Feb 19:00

The Three Layers You Need to Stay Warm in Freezing Winter

by Melanie Pinola

Temperatures are painfully frigid across much of the country, so it's important to protect your skin and eyes and dress effectively to stay warm . This infographic shows us the three layers that can keep you insulated outdoors.


14 Apr 10:33

Chicken and Dumplings

by joythebaker

Chicken and Dumplings

The days really are warming.  There are the prettiest strawberries in the market.  It might almost be time to daydream about watermelon wedges.  But… I still need soup.  The unapologetically comforting kind of soup with soft carrots, big bites of chicken, almost too much thyme, and the fluffiest floating dumplings.  

It’s Winter comforts in Spring.  Let’s bridge the gap.  You know… like wearing a light scarf or shoes with no socks… except this is food and way way delicious.    

Chicken and Dumplings

Boneless and skinless chicken thighs to start.  I like chicken thighs because they’re more fatty and flavorful than chicken breast.  Always go for flavor!  

The meat is seasoned well and browned in hot hot olive oil.  This is where the layers of flavor begin.  

Chicken and Dumplings

The holy trinity for soups!  Necessary and proper:  diced onions, sliced carrots, and sliced celery.  Oh… a little garlic too, because YES! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the chicken is browned on each side it is removed from the pot and our vegetables are sautéed in the chicken oil.  Dried thyme is added too.  The saute heat helps bloom the flavor of dried seasoning. 

Layers.  More layers of flavor.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the veggies are softened a bit, time for the return of the chicken, this time with a bay leaf and chicken stock.  

This is when the soup becomes soup!  Veggies cooked down and chicken cooked through! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Green peas and fresh parsley to really brighten the whole pot.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the chicken is simmered to tender and cooked through, I remove it from the pan and chop-shred it.  Technical term.  I also burn the heck outta my fingers because the chicken is super steamy and I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool.  Be like me! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Soup simmers and we make our dumplings.  

Of course there’s butter.  

I actually used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Blend for these dumplings and they were delicious!  

Chicken and Dumplings

The butter is broken down into the seasoned flour mixture.  A beaten egg and a bit of buttermilk to bring the dumpling dough together!  

Chicken and Dumplings

The batter will be homogenous, a little sticky but not too wet.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Ok!  Game face! Time to dollop dumpling batter into simmering soup!  (This is totally the best part!)

Chicken and Dumplings

Grab a small spoon from the silverware drawer.  Heap it up with about 2 tablespoons of dough and zing it right into the simmering soup.  

Zing it! 

Once all the dumplings are in and simmering, we cover the pot for 10 minutes to let the dumplings simmer and cook.  It’s tremendous… like little biscuits in hot soup!  

Chicken and Dumplings

Warm and classic comfort in a bowl.  And no… you’re not allowed to fish out all of the dumplings for your own consumption.  I already thought of that and beat you to it.  

Chicken and Dumplings
2015-04-13 18:09:45
Write a review
For the Soup
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  3. salt and pepper to season chicken thighs
  4. 1 large yellow onion, coarsely diced
  5. 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  6. 4 ribs celery, trimmed and sliced
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  9. 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1 cup frozen peas
  12. 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  13. salt and pepper to taste
For the Dumplings
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  5. 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
  7. 1 large egg, beaten
  8. 1/4 cup buttermilk, cold
  1. To make the soup, place oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the soup pan to brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Chicken won't be fully cooked through but it will return to the pot to simmer a bit later.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme to the pot. Stir and saute until the onions are cooked through and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are cooked through and softened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken when it is cooked through and carefully chop and shred it. Return the chicken to the pan.
  7. While the soup simmers. Make the dumplings. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, thyme, and pepper. Add the butter and use your fingers to break it down into the flour mixture creating small flecks of butter throughout the mixture.
  8. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk and stir until just combined. Try not to over-stir the dumpling dough.
  9. When the vegetables in the soup are cooked through and the chicken is chopped and returned to the pot, bring the soup to a light simmer and season to taste. Use a small spoon to gently dollop about 2 tablespoons of dough into the simmering soup.
  10. The dumpling may sink, but will rise to the surface of the soup as it cooks. Add all of the dumplings.
  11. Cover the pot. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. After 10 minutes the dumplings should be cooked through. Remove from heat and serve warm!
By Joy the Baker
Adapted from Whole Foods Market
Joy the Baker
13 Apr 14:00

There's Always Another Side to the Story


Submitted by: (via maximenz)

09 Feb 15:15

House Redesign Abundant in Soft Walnut Hues: “Two-Levels” Project in Ukraine

by Lavinia

Sergey Gotvyansky from NOTT Design Studio completed the “Two-Levels” project, a redesign of a family residence in  Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The result is an elegant home with a color spectrum based “on the balance of rough surfaces of concrete-like plaster and warm textures of American walnut, plus white background and black embedding details”. The new layout was planned around a long hall acting as the core of the home. This key area connects an attached living room to the right with a kitchen and dining zone to the left.
design modern interior
The second floor is described as a completely private area accommodating the master bedroom with the dressing room and the bathroom, children’s and guest rooms. Here are further details, as provided by the project developers: “Selection of pieces of furniture has been made according customer’s desire to have quality made-in-Ukraine furniture and use the least possible number of factory stuff, so all board furniture, complete kitchen, the table, the coffee table, beds are made on the authors’ sketches by local craftsmen.” Enjoy the virtual tour and let us know what you think! [Photography by Andrey Avdeenko]
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09 Apr 02:21

dwellerinthelibrary:Fantastic photos of the “astronomical...


Fantastic photos of the “astronomical ceiling” at the Temple of Dendera, posted on LiveJournal by aksanova.

08 Apr 22:00

This Isn't A Chameleon. It's Two Women Expertly Covered In Body Paint

by Lauren Davis

Johannes Stötter is a fine art body painter who creates incredible illusions with his paints and his performers, transforming human bodies into various animals. This chameleon is particularly spectacular, with two women forming different halves of the chameleon's body.


05 Feb 13:59

10 Top Kitchen Trends for 2015

by Shelley Little

Ring in the new year by adding these vogue styles to your kitchen—it will make your kitchen the life of the party for years to come. Image Source: Katie Rosenfeld

In the year 2015, the kitchen is not being built for just cooking. Rather, it is becoming a multi-purpose room that simultaneously allows restaurant-worthy meals to be made while also acting as the hub of all conversation, dining, social gatherings and festivities.

We already know that kitchens seem to have a magic power of pulling in the party—but in 2015 it’s a party room with more than one purpose.

So, let’s look at the hottest kitchen trends for 2015, and ring in the new year right with a new, en vogue kitchen:

Let’s look at the hottest kitchen trends for 2015, and ring in the new year right with a new, en vogue kitchen. Image Source: DDC NYC

 1) Bring on Bold Color

2015 is the year to give your kitchen a bold upgrade. This means not being afraid to add a little color to your décor where you might not have expected it before. Sometimes it takes the creation of contrast to get the aesthetic look you’re aiming for—and bold colors are ‘it’ in 2015.

This year, try painting your cabinets any bold shade (dark or light).  These bodacious colors naturally draw the eye in and create a focal point.

Be sure to pull all of your primary kitchen features together in an upgraded and modern fashion by balancing bold colors with lighter neutral tones throughout.

teal kitchen cabinets

2015 is the year to give your kitchen a bold upgrade. Image Source: Top Notch DS

 2) Industrial Lighting

Your kitchen needs to be well-lit in order to keep up with your culinary adventures, but also provide the perfect place for conversation and mingling to happen at get-togethers.

Industrial-style lighting is very on-trend for 2015. What does this style look like? Well, it varies, but here are some key elements to look for:

  • black steel
  • stainless steel
  • wire caging in place of sconces
  • clear glass and old-fashioned style lightbulbs
  • copper or brass
  • rivets and other industrial hardware
kitchen island steel pendant lights

Industrial-style lighting for kitchens is very on-trend for 2015. Image Source: Capital-Building

 3) Industrial Kitchen Island

For 2015 the hot kitchen trend is very much an industrious one. Kitchens are taking on a new personality thanks to popular cooking shows that exhibit industrial kitchens that are outfitted with all the restaurant-quality fixings.

The kitchen island remains the center of the kitchen, but thanks in part to these television shows, the island has shifted. Mobile kitchen islands are all the rage and there’s clear reason for their rise in popularity. Built with function and efficiency in mind a mobile island gives you the benefit of extra counter space, without restrictions on your kitchen floor plan.

Kitchen islands that can be moved from place to place open up opportunities for space in your kitchen you wouldn’t have with a stationary island. And the style of island has begun to mimic a more industrial standard with steel wheels and stainless steel shelves.

stainless steel kitchen industrial wood brick

The style of island has begun to mimic a more industrial standard with steel wheels and stainless steel shelves. Image Source: Jane Kim Design4) High Efficiency

4) High Efficiency

When talking about kitchen trends for 2015, efficiency is all the rage. There’s no better place to put efficiency into practice than with your pantry shelves. Your kitchen pantry holds all your most essential kitchen items, and should be a priority when it comes to your kitchen upgrade.

Pull-out pantry shelves not only make the search for the right ingredient easier, but virtually painless. Shelves that pull out mean you’re able to see everything at once and just as easily rearrange.

Make this the year that you eliminate kitchen stress by adding a set of pull-out pantry shelves. You’ll kiss the days of digging in the dark goodbye when you’re finally able to visualize what you actually have in that pantry and find it within seconds.

pull out kitchen shelves

There’s no better place to put efficiency into practice than with your pantry shelves. Image Source: Shelf Genie

 5) Vertical Kitchen Drawers

In a similar vein of organizational thought this year, why not look into adding some vertical drawers to your kitchen? There’s no rule that says kitchen drawers have to be built horizontally, and if something comes along that makes life easier, 2015 should be the year to incorporate it into your kitchen.

Designers are adding (and sometimes hiding)  these tall drawers in the most unusual places, taking advantage of otherwise wasted wall space.

This style of drawer also works well for those small and sometimes hard-to-store items like spices.

vertical kitchen storage

Designers are adding (and sometimes hiding) tall vertical drawers in the most unusual places, taking advantage of otherwise wasted wall space. Image Source: Vanilla Wood

6) Kitchen Islands Have a New Job

Kitchen islands are becoming more than just a prep or serving station in 2015—they are acting as home and decor furnishings. This year, transform your kitchen from culinary base to display case with the addition of a unique kitchen island.

Consider incorporating glass or mirror doors on island storage units, or refurbish an old barn table into an island by adding lower shelving units for storage. Regardless of the style you choose, begin to look at your island as a style statement.

The island in the image below certainly makes an impact!

modern kitchen island unique

Kitchen islands are becoming more than just a prep or serving station in 2015—they are acting as home and decor furnishings. Image Source: Platinum BG

7) Kitchen Flooring

According to architect Stephen Alton, flooring options for 2015 are going to be amazing, particularly when it comes to the kitchen. Porcelain is going to be a popular flooring choice this year, especially for those on tighter budgets.

Available in many different colors, patterns, and textures, porcelain lasts as long, if not longer than many other flooring products— despite the images of fine china that the name suggests.

For those with higher-end budgets, more elaborate floor tiles will be popular such as the ones shown in the image below.

stainless steel kitchen floor tiles

Flooring options for 2015 are going to be amazing, particularly when it comes to the kitchen. Image Source: Rugoraff

 8) Tiles Are Everywhere

2015 is definitely looking to be the year of the tile as far as kitchen design is concerned. Not super difficult to install and available with colorful grouting options, there’s no reason to stop with a backsplash when putting tiles in your kitchen—why not cover an entire wall?

Consider tiling the interior of your kitchen sink—it’s beneficial on several levels. Not only does it provide a water resistant surface, but allows for easy cleaning that’s also pleasing to the eye. Colorful tiles in your sink give your kitchen a fun edge that allows you to incorporate bold hues you might not be brave enough to try on primary walls or backsplashes.

Tiles will bring a vibrant life to your kitchen décor that just wasn’t there before.

turquoise kitchen tile

2015 is definitely looking to be the year of the tile as far as kitchen design is concerned. Image Source: Dan Waibel

9) Brass Is Back

Sometimes the best décor trends are seen in the details. Your kitchen is no exception to this rule.

The gleam of brass details can turn your kitchen into a very elegant space. Think shiny brass pendants, brass knobs, handles and brass facets.

If this shine it too much for your tastes, then try toned-down copper details instead. Either way, these gold-hued metals are very now.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 6.34.45 PM

The gleam of brass details can turn your kitchen into a very elegant space. Think shiny brass pendants, brass knobs, handles and brass facets. Image Source: Michelle Workman

 10)  Kitchens Get Smart

If your smartphone can’t do it, then it can’t be done, right? Well, for many this is true, which is why a current trend in kitchens evolve around smart technology.

Take, for instance, the Anova Precision Cooker. This Bluetooth-enabled device allows you to connect to your phone, search recipes, and integrate the suggested cooking times and temps so that your food comes out perfect each and every time.

You will also want to embrace charging stations within your kitchen design—there are numerous hidden options to be discovered that won’t take away from the decor. Consider adding some unique technology to your kitchen, making it ‘smarter’ in 2015.

hidden charging station

You will want to embrace charging stations within your kitchen design—there are numerous hidden options to be discovered that won’t take away from the decor. Image Source: LGB Interiors

Whether you decide to incorporate one or all of these fun ideas, it’s time to give your kitchen the modern boost it deserves for the year to come. Functioning as the central heartbeat of your home, putting some time and energy into small upgrades can go a long way towards making your kitchen the haven it’s meant to be for family and friends.

Make this year the one that takes your kitchen from standard to sublime. With a focus on efficiency, functionality and personal style, you can’t go wrong.

What trend do you want to add to your kitchen this year?

The post 10 Top Kitchen Trends for 2015 appeared first on

03 Feb 17:52

Why Home Organization Matters In Design

by Tara Mastroeni
An organized interior helps make sure your guests focus on your aesthetic rather than clutter. Image Via: Dyer Photo

An organized interior helps make sure your guests focus on your aesthetic rather than clutter. Image Via: Dyer Photo

When most people think of interior design, they consider the at of revamping the look of a space – picking out paint colors and finding the perfect furniture. However, it’s also vital to consider the life that a space will have once a design is complete and is being lived in.

Home organization is that crucial element that keeps a design looking fresh long after you’ve completed the finishing touches. It’s an essential step to creating a look that you’ll love for years to come.

Whether you’re someone who needs to have every aspect of your home in order or you’re the type of person that’s more laid-back, every home should have some type of storage system in place. We’ve compiled a list of reasons why order is key, as well as some tips on how to make it happen. Give them a look. You may just be inspired to give your home an organizational makeover.

Proper organization helps pull a room together. Image Via: j witzel interior design

Proper organization helps pull a room together. Image Via: j Witzel Interior Design

It Gives A Polished Look

Think about all the professionally-designed rooms that you see when you’re scrolling through Freshome or flipping through the pages of glossy magazines. There is one feature that sets them apart from real interiors. Simply, real homes often looked lived in while the staged photos leave nothing out of place.

Organization is the key to achieving that catalog look. If you look carefully at the pages of those photos, it’s clear that all of the everyday-use items in the room are stored in a specific and predetermined place, which creates a streamlined look.

One of the first steps toward getting your home organized is to find a place for those loose items so they aren’t left lying out and about. Challenge yourself to find spaces for all of your current loose items. Remember, if you can’t find a spot for something, it’s probably time to de-clutter.

Busy spaces like playrooms can especially benefit from an organizational touch. Image Via: Clean Design

Busy spaces like playrooms can especially benefit from an organizational touch. Image Via: Clean Design

Blend Form and Function

At Freshome, we often talk about how important it is to strike the right balance of form and function. After all, it doesn’t matter how good a room looks, if you can’t live in it peacefully, right? By the same token, you won’t enjoy your space if functionality totally overtakes aesthetic appeal.

When you’re looking to organize your home, try to find storage solutions that also fit into the look of your home. Dual-purpose furniture, colored baskets, and built-in shelving that you can paint or stain are often the safest bets.

Honesty is key here, too. As you shop for storage solutions, think long and hard about how you’ll use the item before you make your purchase. Even if you have to search out multiple options before finding a solution that works for you, it will be worth the time in the long run because you’ll continually be inspired to put the piece to use once you get it home.

Built-in shelving is a great way to keep clutter under control. Image Via: Laura U, Inc.

Built-in shelving is a great way to keep clutter under control. Image Via: Laura U, Inc.

Structure Adds Resale Value

It’s true. Proper organization can add value to your home. Whether you’re currently preparing to enter the real estate market or you want to stay in your home for a long time to come, it’s never to early to start taking the organizational steps that will keep your home in tip-top shape.

Think about it this way, if you were in the market to purchase a new home, would you want to have to wade through someone else’s clutter on a showing? Of course not. By welcoming buyers into an organized property, you not only show your home in its best light, but you also show them how they could potentially use the space.

Even if your not looking to put your home on the market right away, it’s never too early to put organizational systems in place. That way, if you do need to make a move, you’re not struggling to create order at a moment’s notice.

Make sure closets are organized on showings - you never know where people will look. Image Via: Capital Closets

Make sure closets are organized on showings – you never know where people will look. Image Via: Capital Closets

Designers Share Their Organization Tips

All this talk about organization doesn’t mean much if you’re unsure how to put it into practice. We’ve asked designers to share their best tips on how they get – and keep – their homes in tip-top shape:

Julia Epstein FasanoBuy as many [baskets] as you possibly can. They should all be made of the same material and the same color to create a cohesive look.

Lauren MakkFind storage solutions for the unused spaces in your home.

Cheryl EisenWhen It Comes to Knickknacks, fill the space without overcrowding it.
Holly Becker: Hire a cleaning lady or a personal organizer, even a decorator, if you need to clean the slate and start from scratch. Sometimes you just need another person to step into your space and give you some encouragement and advice.

Image Via: Patrick Brickman

Aim for storage that fits your organizational needs and aesthetic taste. Image Via: Patrick Brickman

Home organization is the key to allowing you’re home’s design to continue to shine long after the last coat of paint dries. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Even the most laid back individual can keep a house looking photo-ready, if they find a storage system that fits their lifestyle. Check out our tips on how and why home organization matters and you’ll be off to a great start.

Are you super organized are more of a free spirit? Do you have any great organization tips? Share them with us in the comments below.

The post Why Home Organization Matters In Design appeared first on

08 Apr 03:57

Writing a Cookbook Proposal

I get a lot of questions related to cookbook proposals. There are a number of reasons to write one. Most believe it's the step you need to take just before pursuing a book deal, which is often true. You write a proposal to get a book contract. To this I say yes, but that's only part of it. I'd argue that a good proposal has the ability to do much more than land you a deal. A book deal is just one of the first steps in the long, very collaborative process specific to bookmaking. The real challenge, as an author, is getting a book at the end of the process that reflects your vision, or what you imagine as the collaborative vision - a book that is the successful melding of everything you bring to the project, along with the expectations and insights of your editor, publisher, and readership. This is a very tall order, and difficult to achieve. I'm completing my fourth cookbook, and I feel like I'm always learning more about the process. That said, it has become clear to me, the proposal is a critical piece of the puzzle. It's an opportunity to communicate exactly what I hope to work on, in a very specific way to the individuals I'll be potentially be collaborating with. And it is a document to refer to along the way if/when, you find yourself in the weeds.

I thought I'd use the proposal I did for Near & Far as an example today, with the hope that aspects of it might be helpful to some of you. Please know this is a process that is highly variable, it differs greatly from author to author, agent to agent, etc. and it can differ based on a thousand variables. This is simply how I have come to think about it - a glimpse at how I took what I've learned from previous books, and used the proposal as a way to help establish what I hoped and imagined for my next book. What I wanted to reach for.

I write and photograph my books, so my proposals reflect that. I like to include sample chapters/recipes and structure - more of a show vs. tell approach, others like to explain what their concept is, but might include less example content. I've seen incredible proposals that are strictly text, or text + illustration. Some proposals highlight individually-driven projects, others are focused team projects, or brand-based books - it's a huge spectrum. I've also seen proposals that are nearly completed manuscripts.

Pre-proposal: Let's talk about the stretch of time I think of as pre-proposal. It's important, and I feel like it's the stage many authors rush. For me, the more time I spend in pre-proposal mode, the better for the book in the end. I don't typically develop a formal proposal until I have about half of a book manuscript (and related photography) completed. At that point, I've spent enough time with the material and concept to know exactly what I want to do (and why), and I have a clear idea of how to finish. I understand the minutiae of what that will take, and what sort of timeline I need. All the while, I try to weave this process (or writing, cooking, and photographing) into my day-to-day life, around other projects, in a way that is maintainable. It isn't an option for me to drop everything and work exclusively on a book. I'm strict about taking as much time as I need, and seem to be on a 4-5 year cycle at this point. Because I don't like to feel rushed or overwhelmed, having content completed at the time I submit a proposal feels right for me. I like the idea that there will (or won't, if there's no interest) be very specific support related to the content in the proposal, and the way it is presented, minimizing surprises later.

Here's a look at my proposal process:

- 1. Once I've established a theme or general concept - start a binder, fill it with plastic sheet covers. Start adding content, stories, photographs, and recipes to it - copies of pages from journals, scraps of paper, notes, etc. One chunk or recipe, photo, or story per sheet. I like the plastic sheets because you can easily move things around with an eye toward flow, pacing, etc. Not just in the text, but also related to design and imagery as well. I like having a physical object to use and experiment with from the very beginning, and I maintain versions of it through to the end of the book process (in parallel with Word docs)...

2. Let the binder sit, adding to it when inspired, or when something feels right. I tend to stay at this stage for a long time.

3. Mock up Proposed Table of Contents (work / rework / play around)

4. Mock up Proposed Recipe List (work/rework/play around) Go back to step 2. Repeat as long as necessary.

5. Last, construct a digital version of the proposal, using the contents and structure of the binder as a blueprint. I use Adobe InDesign for this, but I imagine you could use whatever program you're comfortable with - Word, Photoshop, Ilustrator, even HTML.

Near & Far Proposal Structure: (Below)
- Sample Table of Contents
- 1 page proposal description (concept + short bio)
- Sample content (section openers + recipe pages)
- Past quotes & endorsements

This is what my proposal for Near & Far looked like. It's more for you to see the general vibe and structure versus reading the actual text, headnotes and recipes at this point. Following this graphic, I've included the first few pages of the PDF of the final version of Near & Far in a second big graphic. This way you can start to see how things shaped up. The point being, at least in my case, the proposal directly informs the final book. You can see how the fonts, design, and details evolved, but that the spirit is very much in line with the original proposal.

Writing a Cookbook Proposal

A sampling of finalized pages from Near & Far after going through editorial, design, and production process. (Below)

Writing a Cookbook Proposal

While the final version of Near & Far isn't in my hands quite yet (it's a Fall release), writing a proposal document in this way helped me establish a bit of a guiding light not only for myself, but also all the people who would eventually be involved at one point or another in the process. It's going to be different if you're a chef at a restaurant collaborating with a co-author, or if you're writing a trend-specific topical book with a quick turn-around, or if you're writing a culinary memoir. In any case, the proposal is an opportunity to communicate the spirit and specifics of an endeavor you think is worth pursuing.

One last note, related to a realm and process where projects are inherently dynamic and always changing. If you're working on a cookbook that is evolving dramatically from an intital proposal, it might be worth updating your proposal into a more current "vision document" of sorts - to help the process, wrangle cats, and get everyone involved looking and reaching in a similar direction. It can save a lot of time and frustration, and potential do-overs.

Hopefully this lends a bit of insight into this slice of the cookbook making process. There are a lot of informative voices out there if you poke around a bit! Here are a few other good links related to the early process of proposing and conceptualizing a cookbook to send you on your way. Although, I'm sure I'm missing many others, feel free to shout them out in the comments:

- Writing Your Own Cookbook (David Lebovitz)

- So You Want to Write a Cookbook (Michael Ruhlman)

- How to get a Cookbook Published (Andrea Nguyen)

- How to Write your First Cookbook (Alice Hart)

Near & Far Series:
- A New Cookbook
- Writing a Cookbook Proposal
- I have some ideas of what I might speak to next in this series, but let me know if you have more ideas. Some of you have already given me some great prompts. -h

Continue reading Writing a Cookbook Proposal...
09 Feb 14:30

​This Cheat Sheet Shows the Best Egg Substitutes for Baking

by Susannah Chen

​This Cheat Sheet Shows the Best Egg Substitutes for Baking

Whether you're vegan, have an egg allergy, or are simply out of eggs, there are plenty of situations in which you might be looking to swap eggs for something else while baking. While sifting through the Internet (pun intended), we discovered a handy infographic worth bookmarking for those occasions.


02 Feb 18:30

​Make a Dremel Router Attachment with a Recycled Plastic Jar

by Timothy Dahl

​Make a Dremel Router Attachment with a Recycled Plastic Jar

The Dremel rotary tool is an extremely effective device that is defined by its accessories . If you're short on cash and just need to cut a basic groove, use this hack to make a simple router attachment.


13 Mar 16:00

Build a Farmhouse Dinner Table that's Tough to Screw Up

by Timothy Dahl

There's nothing like enjoying a family meal around a dinner table you built yourself. These plans for a farmhouse table date back to when actual farmers (not furniture makers) built their own furniture, which means you can too.


13 Mar 23:30

How to Be a Perfect Guest in the 21st Century

by Jason Fitzpatrick

Your mother's missive to "Be polite!" might suffice to help you get by as a tolerable guest. But if you really want to shine as an exceptional and always-welcome guest, you may want to add a trick or two to your traveling bag.


17 Mar 16:30

The Kitchen Skills Kids Can Learn, By Age Group

by Melanie Pinola

Getting kids involved in the kitchen is one of the best ways to raise healthy eaters, and even preschoolers can help out. This chart lists the skills kids can learn as they grow.


23 Mar 20:00

Build a Simple, Sturdy Table that Folds Flat for Easy Storage

by Thorin Klosowski

Whether you need a project table for hobbies or you just need something when guests are around, Make shows you how to build a simple little table that assembles in seconds and folds flat for easy storage.


24 Mar 21:00

Career Spotlight: What I Do as an Archaeologist

by Andy Orin

With archaeology serving as a backdrop to old-fashioned adventure stories, you probably have some diverse images of what it means to be an archaeologist in mind. The truth, unsurprisingly, is less about treasure hunting and more about the methodic analysis of historical sites.


25 Mar 15:49

First Carbon-Positive Prefab House Produces More Energy Than It Consumes

by Lavinia

Carbon-Positive Prefab House
Characterized by Australian modular building expert ArchiBlox as the world’s first carbon-positive prefab living unit, the Archi+Carbon Positive House is designed to be self-sustainable. According to the project developers, the new project “provides the option for a more environmentally-conscious design, through both reducing embodied energy that accompanies new-home construction and maintaining positive-energy production.” The photos below depict the project entitled ‘Carbon House 01′, the first out of four models envisioned so far.
design sustainable house
Reducing heating and cooling costs is cleverly achieved through a series of passive design strategies, without compromising in style and overall appearance. These include in-ground cool tubes, sliding edible garden walls to reduce sunlight infiltration, and a green roof for increased thermal insulation. “Additional gains in thermal performance are achieved through the structures’ air-tightness which sustains the heat or cool inside and a ‘buffer zone’ which separates the thermal conditions of the exterior and interior areas. Further sustainability is achieved through double-glazed and thermally broken windows, solar power utilization, and water recycling implementation”, explained the architects.

With a total living surface of 53 square meters (plus a 23 square-meter deck ), one living area, kitchen, dining zone, one bedroom and one bathroom, this sustainable unit is a cozy place to call home. [Photography by Tom Ross]
sustainable house (2) sustainable house (3) sustainable house (5) sustainable house (6) sustainable house (7) the plans the plans1

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16 Mar 09:42

How To Be A Better Baker

by joythebaker

How To Be a Better Baker

We talk a lot about doughnuts and waffles.  We talk about my cat a bit too much.  We talk about New Orleans and beignets and parades, and beads.  We could, if you’re at all interested, talk about how many peanut butter cups I just shoved in my mouth.  That conversation would be short and barely interesting.  6.  That’s the number. 

Today let’s talk about 7 ways to be a better baker.  A few small tweaks and little nuggets of advice to build confidence in the kitchen.  Read through and leave a comment below if any questions come up for you!  I want us to be the best bakers we can be.  

Cookie dough above: Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies.  

1.  You’re only as good as your relationship with your oven.

Well, unless you’re a raw pastry chef, in which case, cheers to you.  No need to have the fanciest, latest and greatest oven.   It’s more about your relationships, how well you know each other, and how readily you accept all the quirks.  

Some ovens have hot spots, little zones in that hotbox that are hotter than others.  Get familiar the hot spots by seeing how a cake browns in the oven.  Is one side more golden or burnt than another?  Take note and rotate the your cakes and breads during baking.  

Stop what you’re doing right now and invest in an oven thermometer. A gauge inside the oven is the only way to know how hot the hot is.  Sometimes the dial doesn’t reflect the actual heat correctly.  

2.   Yes you have to follow the directions, mostly. 

Baking is a delicate balance of flours, moisture, leavening, and heat.  A recipe is there to hold your hand, lead the way, and give you a high-five at the end.  You’ve got to trust the recipe to be good. Sometimes they’re not, but you have to trust the process, cold butter, buttermilk and all.  

Here’s how to read a recipe.  It’s nice to know how to read a map.  

3.   If you’re not using a scale, here’s we measure flour. It’s important. 

4.  Waste Not, Want Not

So often I end up with a container full of egg whites after making ice cream, a small handful of pecans, and leftover fresh herbs from various baking projects.  Don’t throw these things away or let them languish to death in the refrigerator. Delicious treats come from leftovers!  Don’t let em go!

• Turn egg whites into crisp Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues!  

•  Toss pecans, and whatever other nuts you have on hand into a batch of Oatmeal Cookie Granola!

•  Smash leftover herbs into butter with lots of salt and call it Super Herb Butter.  Delicious done!  

5.  Cakes can fall in the oven.

That’s not just something your grandmother said to get you from jumping up and down indoors.  Cakes need a bit of care even when they’re in the oven.  There’s a critical stage about 12 to 18 minutes of cake baking where the leavening and eggs are doing their best to support the rise of the cake, if you jostle the cake by rotating it in the oven during this period, the cake could sink in the center.  No good. 

6.  Underbake or Overbake?  

Underbake:  skillet cakes, fudge brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.  Soft, doughy centers are sometimes just the way to go.  

Overbake:  charred things, toast, hot dogs, and really nothing else. 

7.  Even the best bakers HATE a springform pan.  

They always leak and make for really infuriating and soggy cheesecake crusts.  It’s not right to blame yourself.  They’re just the worst.  And don’t even get me started about wrapping the springform pan in tin foil.  That worked for one person once and then never again.  

What’s the work around?  A pie dish.  See: Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie 

7.  It is my mission in life to get you to make great pie crust from scratch.  

Not an exaggeration.  Pie crust is the perfect balance of fat and flour that combines, chills, and bakes into the perfect vessel for sliced fruit and hot oven temperatures.  

Perfectly flakey pie crust requires a few things:  gumption, guts, love, tenderness, confidence, and patience.  Luckily you have all of those things.  And butter.  Don’t forget the butter!

Here are five tips for the best all-butter pie crust from scratch!

And don’t even think about buying one of those freezer-section pie doughs.  I’ll know and I’ll come squint my eyes at you.  

Happy Baking!  With love and butter. 

06 Mar 19:00

The Chores Kids Can Do, By Age Group

by Melanie Pinola

Even kids as young as two can help around the house. If you're not sure what kinds of chores to assign your little (or big) kids, this printable chore chart offers age-appropriate suggestions.


05 Mar 18:55

Why Essential Oils Are Essential For Your Home

by Shelley Little

Essential oils have a plethora of uses for the home environment, making it healthier with its healing scents. Image Source: Rose and Partners

Can you smell it? The fresh air floats with hints of sharp citrus blended with cinnamon & clove undertones, invigorating your senses —and possibly making you and your home healthier?

It’s time to come to our senses, our sense of smell, that is.  While the practice of aromatherapy has been around for ages, we are not talking about burning a few candles, rather we are talking about essential oils and all of their essential uses in our home.

When researching this topic, we were surprised by all the uses essential oils have in the home—and it’s not just about making your home smell pretty. These little, viscous, liquid droplets pass the smell test and seem to hold the possibility of actually healing your home! Here’s how:

These little, viscous, liquid droplets pass the smell test and seem to have the possibility to actually heal your home! Here’s how. Image Source: Shed Built

 What Are Essential Oils ?

In the dictionary sense of the word, essential oils are concentrated hydrophobic liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants.  Broken into layperson language, it is a plant oil that contains the essence of the plant or the smell of the plant.

For the most part, these oils have been used for superficial purposes such as scenting perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and incense. However, there are those who have historically claimed the medicinal benefits of these oils, ranging from claims of clearing up acne all the way to curing cancer.  One particular historian, Alain Touwaide claims there is archeological evidence “…that both frankincense and myrrh were used as medicinal substances in antiquity; used as healing aids in leprosy and toothaches”.

These claims are still up for debate, but one thing is for certain—the interest in these olfactory oils seems to go beyond smell, and its rise in popularity shows the world has ‘caught the scent’.

cream and blue kitchen den

The interest in these olfactory oils seems to go beyond smell, and its rise in popularity shows the world has ‘caught the scent’. Image Source: Anna Braund

 How To Use Essential Oils In Your Home

There are thousands of useful online sites that list numerous roles that essential oils can play in the home. One site lists the effectiveness of oils in cleaning products, another to keep mice at bay, and another uses scents to keep her family healthy.

With all the choices available, where do you start? We suggest you start small and try just a few of the more well-known oil extracts such as lemon, orange and lavender. These oils have been known (and are quite time-tested) to aid in the cleaning and aromatherapy of your home.

There are numerous essential oil manufacturers that offer starter kits for those who really want to dive in nose-first.

blue black and white kitchen

There are thousands of useful online sites that list numerous roles that essential oils can play in the home. Image Source: JC-Design

 The Disinfecting Power Of Essential Oils

Aside from smelling pretty, essential oils have some magnificent cleaning powers. Here are some of the more popular cleaning methods that oil officiando’s are employing to clean their home:

  • tea tree oil is mixed with water; pour in a spray bottle and use as disinfectant on toilets, sinks etc…
  • lemon oil applied to showers prevents soap scum build-up
  • Mix lavender and lemon grass oil and use to clean windows

As you can see, cleaning your home and keeping your family healthy doesn’t have to involve a lot of harsh chemicals.  This Wiki How site shows you how to make an all-purpose cleaning solution with just lavender oil, lemon oil and water.

white kitchen glass tile marble

Aside from smelling pretty, essential oils have some magnificent cleaning powers. Image Source: Porcelanosa

 Going Green

Speaking of harsh chemicals. Many do not realize the amount of toxins that float throughout their home. Almost all of the content in your home has some form of chemical emission—carpeting, furnishings, cleaning products, insulation, drywall, paint etc…

An article in The Atlantic calls this a ‘silent pandemic’, noting that daily toxin exposure is actually damaging the brains of unborn children, and determining that 41 Million IQ points have been collectively lost amongst Americans due to exposure to common toxins like lead, mercury and pesticides.

Perhaps this should be a wake-up call for us to employ a more green approach to living— and look into ways to use essential oils in place of toxic cleaners. Here is a great link to help you make your home green with essential oils.

modern bathroom tile cabinets tub

Many do not realize the amount of toxins that float throughout their home. Image Source: LBC Lighting

It certainly seems that essential oils should have a place in every home. Not only do they smell great; they can alleviate the amount of toxic cleaners that you use in your home, and possibly eliminate some toxins in the home. Go a little green and try on some of these scents today.

Are you ahead of the trend and already ‘on the scent’ of the power of essential oils?


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16 Feb 01:52

7 Ways to Change Your Attitude When You Can’t Change Anything Else

by Marc Chernoff

7 Ways to Change Your Attitude When You Can't Change Anything Else

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Sometimes changing your circumstances isn’t possible – or simply not possible soon enough.  You can’t get to a new job in an instant.  You can’t make someone else change against his or her will.  And you certainly can’t erase the past.  So what options do you have left?

Change your perception, belief or opinion about your circumstances.  Doing so will help you change your attitude and ultimately allow you to grow beyond the struggles you can’t control.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it perfectly more than 2,000 years ago: “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things.  When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles and opinions.”

Modern behavioral science agrees too.  American psychologist Albert Ellis, famous for developing rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), has proven that how people react to events is determined predominantly by their view of the events, not the events themselves.

Have no clue how to change your perception of things – and improve your attitude?  Here are seven easy ways to start:

  1. Still your mind. – In order to gain conscious control of what goes on in your mind, you need to develop a keen awareness for this process.  What helps is to hold still for a moment, take a deep breath and free your mind of all the chatter that’s going on inside and all around.  This makes room for a change of state, for something new to enter.  So give yourself a break.  Don’t say you can’t.  Yes, you have battles out in the world to fight, insecurities to overcome, loved ones to contend with and goals to achieve, but a break from it all is necessary.  It’s perfectly healthy to pause and let the world spin without you for a while.  If you don’t, you will burn yourself out.  You must refill your bucket on a regular basis.  That means catching your breath, finding quiet solitude, focusing your attention inward, and otherwise making time for recovery from the chaos of your routine. (more…)
26 Feb 01:58

7 Ways to Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong

by Marc Chernoff

7 Ways to Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong

When life is “falling apart,” it could actually be falling together… for the very first time.  Which is why it feels so darn uncomfortable.  Consider that what’s in front of you may be serving you in valuable ways you don’t even understand right now.

“Today, on my 47th birthday, I re-read the suicide letter I wrote on my 27th birthday about two minutes before my girlfriend showed up at my apartment and told me, ‘I’m pregnant.’  She was honestly the only reason I didn’t follow through with it.  Suddenly I felt I had something to live for.  Today she’s my wife, and we’ve been happily married for 19 years.  And my daughter, who is now a 21-year-old college student, has two younger brothers.  I re-read my suicide letter every year on my birthday as a reminder to be thankful – I am thankful I got a second chance at life.”

That’s the opening paragraph of an email I received last night from a reader named Kevin.  His words remind me that sometimes you have to die a little on the inside first in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, smarter version of yourself.

People and circumstances will occasionally break you down.  But if you keep your mind focused, your heart open to love, and continue to put one foot in front of the other, you can recover the pieces, rebuild, and come back much stronger and happier than you ever would have been otherwise.

Angel and I have dealt with our fair share of adversity over the years too – losing loved ones to illness, financial and business turmoil, etc. – and we’ve written a lot about it.  But today, in light of Kevin’s email and a dozen other emails I’ve received this past week from readers who are struggling with hard times, I want to revisit and discuss seven key actions Angel and I take to find strength when everything seems to be going wrong.

1.  Fully accept the reality of what is.

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.  Life spins with unexpected changes every hour; so instead of avoiding it, take every change and experience as a challenge for growth.  Either it will give you what you want or it will teach you what the next step is.

Finding peace and happiness in life does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no challenges, and no hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those (more…)

04 Mar 18:00

Geologists Are Getting Sexy

who named the stone cummingtonite?

Submitted by: (via Bill Bobby21)

27 Feb 19:33

The Humble Binder Clip Just Became Much More Useful 

by Andrew Liszewski

Just because a product seems perfect doesn't necessarily mean there isn't room to squeeze just a little more usefulness out of it. Take the humble binder, or bulldog clip, as it's often called. Its simple design lets it keep giant stacks of paper in order, prevent loose cables from sliding off your desk—but with a tiny design tweak, it can also serve as a handy spot to hold a cup of coffee.


02 Mar 15:33

10 Interview Tips

by Evil HR Lady

If it’s time to find a new job, that means it’s time to go on interviews. You know, those painful awkward conversations where the person sitting across from you is focused on judging every aspect of you. Fun times! Whether you’re intent on finding solicitor jobs or finding fast food jobs, there are some basic things that will help you get through the interview. Here are 10 tips.

1. Look happy to be there. If you go in, looking and acting like you’d rather stick pins in your eyes than do this interview, the interviewer won’t see you in a positive light. Granted, you may not be happy to be there, but attempt to do an attitude change in the car. Remember, if you get this job you won’t have to interview any more and that should make you happy.

2. Don’t worry about crazy recruiter rules. Some recruiters are nuts. They’ll reject you because you have scuff marks on your shoes, because you ask a question like, “how long will the interview take?” or judge you by your handshake. You can’t predict these and you can’t win. So, don’t worry about them. Just focus on being generally polite and well groomed.

3. Do worry about your wardrobe. Yes, you can wear pants. But, unless you’re interviewing for manual labor you probably shouldn’t wear jeans. If possible, scope out the company beforehand and take a look at how the current employees are dressed. Then, unless they are all wearing suits, you dress one step higher. If they are wearing suits, you wear one too. If they are wearing business casual, you wear a suit. If they are wearing jeans, you wear business casual.

4. Make sure you answer the question the interviewer is asking. This may seem silly, but lots of people have a set of things they want to say and somehow try to push it into the conversation. Now, granted, sometimes interviewers stink and ask really dumb questions. Once you’ve answered it, you can then add on the part that they should have asked. For instance, when you’re asked, “What’s your biggest weakness?” what they should have asked is, “Tell me how you’ve overcome a challenge?” So, answer the biggest weakness question, but add in how you’ve overcome it.

5. Have your research done. Don’t go into an interview not knowing what the company does. You have the internet, use it. No excuse for not using it.

6. If you’re meeting in a restaurant, don’t go all picky. Yes, you can get your favorite drink at Starbucks as long as it’s not fussy and you accept whatever the barista hands you at the end. Don’t argue with a waitress and don’t ask for massive substitutions. If you have allergies, you can, of course, make sure your waitress understands that, but if you allergic to pine nuts, then for heaven’s sake, don’t order the pesto. If you ask the waitress to have the chef prepare you pine nut free pesto you look picky and demanding. Don’t do that.

7. Speak positively about your previous jobs. Everyone knows that your last job wasn’t perfect. The thing is, though, when you whine and complain about your last job, your interviewer only sees you as a potential problem, rather than a potential solution to their problems. Yes, you can mention the problems as a reason for why you’re looking for a new job, but it’s preferable to focus on why this new opportunity is a positive direction for you.

8. Practice, practice, practice. There are  a million lists of sample interview questions. Chances are your interviewer will use one of these lists, or ask similar questions anyway. But, don’t panic about which list to practice with, just pick one and have a friend hold a practice interview. If possible, this should be a friend who has hired before. The point, though, is to practice answering and thinking on your feet.

9. Know your stuff. A lot of interviews, especially with recruiters, focus on the fluffy stuff. But, the hiring manager should get technical on you. If you’ve been unemployed for a while, or if you’re looking for a job that isn’t precisely what you have been doing recently, you should brush up on your skills. Get up on industry literature. Be prepared to answer the hard questions.

10. Ask the right questions. Often, people focus on questions about benefits or pay in an interview. But, those are questions best left for the negotiation phase. Instead, ask questions about what problems they are facing, how this role fits in with others, what challenges lie ahead and about the company culture. These things not only give you important information, they also give you the opportunity to explain how you can help solve the problems they face, and what you can bring to the role.