I spent a couple of hardworking weeks in NYC with a great group of creative women making photo after beautiful photo of all the treats that make Baking Gold the gold that it is!
Candy is Magic was shot in my home office (which is supposed to be our dining room!) - using my kitchen for cooking and my kitchen table for staging. Traveling to NYC to shoot in a studio was a wildly different experience. I’m not sure which experience I liked more, although I do have to say that shooting a book in your house in Portland, Oregon where groceries are cheap definitely has its financial advantages.
The photos we shot in NY are beautiful. So much color. Beautifully styled. Amazing props. Exact lighting. I think we made photos unlike anything you’ve seen before, especially in a baking book. People who dropped by the set told us that we were making photos that people were going to copy for years. I’m not tooting any horns here at all because we were simply fulfilling our creative vision during the shoot - still, it’s hard to not get excited when someone talks at you like that!
BIG BRIGHT BOLD COLORFUL BOOK ABOUT BAKING ONLY 11 OR SO MONTHS AWAY.
Some mid-level (to you)/high-level (to me) important news items to share:
My new book with Ten Speed Press is definitely coming out in early spring 2020 (that is in just about one year if you can believe it!), and the title of the book is definitely BAKING GOLD (subtitle TBD, still deciding between two hot tickets).
The recipe list for the book still thrills me. I love these recipes so much that I am still - even with the manuscript turned in - digging around for “extra” time and squeezing in baking sessions simply so we can continue to enjoy these treats! Bubble Buns! Darling Buttercream Darlings! Caramelized Milk Brownies! I’m going to bake these guys forever.
I am still experiencing a tiny bit of disbelief when I think about Baking Gold’s photo team because they are the exact same people who made THIS real work of art. I’ll be in NYC for the book shoot in mere days!
If you like online learning and you want to make candy, you really should check out my class on Bluprint/Craftsy (they make candy look so good).
I remain a dedicated reader and have recently enjoyed (and highly recommend) the following:
Bad Blood (the book about Theranos)
Louisiana’s Way Home (about Louisiana Elefante of Raymie Nightingale fame)
The Untelling (Tayari Jones is perfection)
The Dreamers (beautiful strange and real)
The Night Diary (middle grade book that will tear your heart out)
My favorite day of the year is the day of my annual cookie party. Cookie decorating with friends! I look forward to it all year. It’s the simplest of pleasures and it makes me so happy to give the gift of the cookie party to others.
For the 2018 ANNUAL COOKIE PARTY I made 26 pounds of dough, 16 pounds of buttercream, and 25 different colors of sprinkles ranging from pink to more pink to aqua to violet to black.
Here’s the best part: I DID THIS FOR A PARTY OF FOUR.
Four people. 26 pounds of dough. A vat of buttercream. So many sprinkles. In the end, we bedazzled A LOT of cookies. And that’s just the way I like it.
Today I was forced to explain why I disagree so strongly with the completely ridiculous concept of using gift as a verb. This was a work-related conversation. And I was talking to someone altogether unbothered by this terrible use of an otherwise lovely word.
Let’s be clear: I am 100% totally completely over the top against using the word gift as a verb.
Is my disdain of this practice irrational? Maybe. Do I see the practice linked directly to companies and "marketers" who are attempting to sell me something so that I may "gift" it to someone else So that that person can then say "Oh thanks, I like my sweater, too. It was gifted to me." PROBABLY.
In reality, and in one million hundred years, I'll never explain it as well as it's explained HERE in The Atlantic. Do yourself a favor, 'tis the season for shopping and wrapping and gift giving. Please think twice before you (say) gift. Or get gifted. And do yourself an additional favor and read the Atlantic piece! It says that "gifting is the "moist" of the action-word world"! Could not have said it better myself, amen.
ps: Speaking of gifts, SEND THEM HERE:
Here’s what’s happening at my house right now:
My son is reading a middle grade novel about magicians. The book features all kinds of tricks. He reads the book, then obsesses over reproducing the tricks. Today he asked me if it was okay to dip one of our drinking glasses into washable glue (he actually called it “removable” glue) because he needed it for his “act”.
With a signed contract in a file in a box in a vintage pie safe, I’m about halfway finished with BAKING GOLD! At least that’s what I’m calling it for now. It’s that baking cookbook I told you about. Thus far the only issues I’m running into involve recipes (I have 3 times the amount of recipes than the publisher is asking for) and recipe testing (I am running out of people to force cookies upon).
I have been working at the library I love the most. Making the move from volunteer to employee has been so fun and so exciting and also VERY GREAT. I’ve found that I connect best with readers who are children under 13 and adults over 65. I also love any project that involves helping people to do their jobs with greater efficiency and more joy.
I am currently reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and it’s helped me to realize that the fiction I love the most always involves tales of growing up. I think this is why I love middle grade fiction so much.
The book that’s made me cry the most lately is The Widower’s Notebook by Jonathan Santlofer. I love memoir. Probably because the genre generally focuses on the growth and change that’s so necessary to the human experience.
Also, look at this. I can’t figure out if it’s depressing or very motivating. What do you think?
I feel the need to tell you this is because I have surprised myself so completely that I don't ever remember being as surprised by something, especially by something this weird. Is it weird? It'll be weird if this topic has never crossed your mind, sure. It won't be weird if it's something you've been thinking of trying out. I'm not talking about essential oils or crystals or tarot or spin class or the keto diet or quitting facebook or even butter coffee.
I'm talking about ABANDONING ANTI-PERSPIRANT!
Is that weird?
I stopped wearing anti-perspirant. And all of the people I interact with on a daily basis are still standing. I have exercised, been to stressful meetings, skipped a shower or two - and guess what? I'm never any stinkier than I was when I was filling my pits with all that gunky anti-perspirant that keeps you from sweating. In fact, after two workouts and a skipped shower (in 90+ degree heat) I shoved my pits into my boyfriend's face and yelled, "smell them!" And guess what? He lived. He may have even said, "you smell better than usual."
I don't drink. I have taken exactly two ibuprofen capsules in the last 12 months. I recently weaned myself from my daily allergy tablet opting instead for an herbal antihistamine, hoping to never take allergy drugs again. The point is, I rarely put drugs or weird substances in or on my body - with the exception of the gigantic slathering of anti-perspirant I was coating my armpits with each day. Being a weirdo, I decided to quit.
Here's how I did it.
My anti-perspirant brand claims 48-hour protection. Given that, I realized it may take some time for all that pasty crud to work itself out of my system. For a week (See! I even gave it more than 48 hours!), I wore nothing on my pits. I shaved. I exfoliated. I washed daily with activated charcoal soap. And I waited for the stink to come or the waterfall of sweat to pour out of my pits. And guess what? It never came. Could I tell that I wasn't wearing a substance designed to keep my pits from feeling even a tiny bit damp? Yes. Was I sweating profusely and pitting out and leaving work in the middle of the day to change my shirt? No.
Next, I bought some deodorant. I did not buy a combination deodorant + anti-perspirant, no I did not. I bought natural deodorant. Deodorant only. Deodorant sans anti-perspirant. I bought a few tubes (wait, is it called a tube? A container? Is it a stick? Okay, a stick. I bought a few sticks of deodorant (still doesn't sound right)) made with coconut oil and baking soda. And some with just coconut oil. Some with arrowroot powder and baking soda. Then a few other kinds I can't remember right now. In all, I bought seven different natural products, all designed to prevent my underarms from stinking. I did all of this without consulting the internet. I did not scare myself with armpit detox stories. I did not read about the dangers of mixing baking soda with sensitive skin. I was unaware of the claims some people make that natural deodorant "darkens" their armpits (seriously, what), I did not confuse myself with the brand loyalty of strangers or the influence of natural product influencers. I did not know so much. And that, I believe, is why I did not give up. Or chicken out. Or change my mind. I designed my own cold turkey anti-perspirant plan, and it worked. (I just mentioned chickens AND turkeys. I hope you liked it.)
I have not worn anti-perspirant in over a month. And to get even weirder on you, I feel like I know more about my body now than I did before. Not the kind of "know your body now" you know after doing something like taking one CrossFit class or giving birth to an actual human. Instead it's more like the kind of "I know my house real well because I clean it myself" kind of a feeling. (I do clean my house myself because if I had someone else clean it I'd probably not realize it was filling up with crap and have too much stuff and probably another cat or a second kitchen used for baking only. By doing the cleaning myself I am constantly getting rid of crap and clutter and dumb stuff I don't want to dust. Is this what she meant by the "life changing tidying up" business? No?) Back to not-stinking: I have not worn anti-perspirant. I have worn natural deodorant, seven different types and all of them seem okay so I don't have a favorite. In doing this, I think I know my body in ways I didn't before. (Say it: You are so weird, Jami Curl.)
Between not taking allergy medicine ever again (fingers crossed!) and proving to myself that anti-perspirant is possibly a made up thing that you can probably figure out you don't need, I feel like maybe I finally gave in to self-care. Please don't tell anyone.
Hi there, hello.
If you're on my mailing list, then you were probably delighted to find issue No. 1 of Hard Work Montage in your mailbox. Delighted you were, right? Right. Did you love that it took three stamps to get to you? I picked all the stamps myself right after I printed neon return address labels. And when I brought the bundle to the post office for mailing, I gave the postal workers their very own copy of issue No. 1. (Have no idea what I'm talking about? You'd better email me your mailing address soon to get issue No. 2 in the mail!)
I love this project so much because I love working with Michelle Ott so much. She's one half of my writing/illustrating dream team and I would really do anything with her. We write letters and postcards, and we've recently started TALKING ON THE PHONE. I hate the phone, truly. Regular telephone conversating is not something I do and is certainly not something I'm good at. But Michelle suggested talking on the phone and who am I to disagree with a genius?