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LATE SUMMER CHEESE BOARD

LK_OHFox_August2015-29I don’t know about you, but it still feels a bit like summer around Chicago. The sun is still warm and it’s still totally acceptable to wear those cute peep toe heels you just don’t have the heart to put away yet. Thanks to Candice & Ashley, we are getting one last squeeze out of summer & celebrating the end of that beautiful season with this gorgeous cheese board! I feel like a cheese board is just about the best way to celebrate anything, so here’s to it! xo- LK


Labor Day weekend was the sweetest, last sip of summer with road trips, grill outs, and long nights (for us anyway!) But the weather hasn’t changed… I’m not quite ready to roast pumpkins or make a big pots of soup.  So recently, when we headed over to a movie night with friends and they served the perfectly seasonal cheese and snack boards, I was dying to share it with you all!  My sweet friend Ashley agreed to have me over and share all of her secrets…

First up, Ashley says it’s the perfect time to serve homemade Italian sodas!  They’re refreshing at a time when you’re over lemonade, but not ready for hot apple cider.

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BLUEBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

1. Boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.

2. Add 1.5 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice) and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

3. Strain. Keep the syrup, discard the berries and voila!

4. Pour over ice and top with sparkling water.

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Next, Ashley showed me the secret to preparing the most delicious artichokes.  These babies absolutely stole the show!

Artichokes totally intimidated me until Ashley demystified the whole process!

LK_OHFox_August2015-13LK_OHFox_August2015-14ASHLEY’S ARTICHOKES

1. Start with a super sharp knife – if you’ve been looking for an upgrade that won’t downgrade your wallet, I’ve got to recommend these.

2. Quarter the ‘chokes and steam them for about 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Melt 1/4 stick butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan.

4. Then, pan fry the artichokes flesh side down for 5 minutes until brown and crispy.

5. Finish with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice!

LK_OHFox_August2015-33You’ve got your beverage, the ‘chokes are on the stove, now it’s time to prep the most main event – the cheese board!

Pick up late summer fruit – stone fruit like peaches and plums plus fresh figs are perfect.  Halve and quarter into bite sizes with a safe, good knife.  The Edge of Belgravia makes the most absolutely beautiful knives that are incredibly sharp and definitely affordable if you’re looking for a big – girl knife option! I use the precision series.OHFOX2

Add three various cheeses based on softness – buy what you love!  I adore sheep’s milk cheese so my picks were along the same flavor profile, but differed in softness, which allows guests to maximize their favorite combinations.

Include the classics like marcona almonds and a salty olive.

LK_OHFox_August2015-22 (1)Finish with sardines.  I’ve never seen anyone serve sardines like Ashley, soaked in oil and topped with parsley.  But with a dollop of dijon on a cracker, they couldn’t have been better.LK_OHFox_August2015-21 (1)

What do you think – are you inspired, feeling creative?  It’s amazing what simple snacks laid out can do to make company feel relaxed and at home.  Secrets and real life stories flow freely when folks are full and there’s something tasty to drink.  I hope this post gives you that little nudge to invite a few friends over to share real life!OHFOX3


Beautiful photos by Becca EwingCandice Button

TRAVEL GUIDE | MIAMI

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Here in Austin, the weekend trip, bachelorette party, quick getaway and family meet up is often New Orleans. But go a little further and east and you’ll hit what I think is the ultimate weekend on a U.S. beach. Miami is anything you need it to be – a lay on the beach for three days and sleep trip, a stay up late and go dancing ’til the sun comes up trip, or somewhere in between.  Due to the diverse cultural influences, Miami feels like a different world – you’re transported by the architecture, the 7 languages you hear in the air tram headed to the taxi, the humid air and plethora of palm trees.  Have I convinced you yet?  For a late summer getaway, there isn’t a better place to go – and here are my top picks.


La Latina

La Latina is a cozy spot just on the edge of Wynwood in Miami.  Arepas, a corn cake popular in South America, are their specialty.  Try the black bean and sweet plantain arepa and thank me later.

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Zak the Baker.

The only thing to say is try it.  So delicious.  If you’re gluten free, they’re happy to serve the tuna melt or egg salad on greens.

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The Angler’s.

The truth is that I love a boutique hotel and this Kimpton fit the bill – nicely.

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The Rose Bar and the Spa at Delano.

The Delano spa is such a well kept secret – it offers a mani/pedi for the price you would pay at home except it’s a spa on a rooftop in Miami #srsly. And the Rose Bar, well, see below.

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Finally, South Beach itself.

It’s the best people watching of all time and happens to be stunning.  Take a frozen bottle of white wine and sandwiches, rent a cabana for $20, and I promise you will be transported to total relaxation.

whmIenFcXtmzTZgbk1XKoQTf1d_dFD15GWy6mSg2Mi0-1Where do you love to go in Miami?  I’d love to hear!


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MEET THE MAKER: ANDREA OF JAVELINA RANCH

MH-20150325-64Hello & HAPPY FRIDAY! Candice here and you are in for an amazing treat today! More than ever people are saving up to buy beautiful, meaningful things for their wardrobes and spaces.  But when I started developing this collection, I had no idea how long the production process would be nor the cost of the product.  I mean, a cup for $24?  Could I be serious?

Then, I met Andrea, of Javelina Ranch, over a coffee date and she shared with me a little bit of the backstory of pottery.  It would take at least 3 weeks to make candle holder or drinking cup she said.   We’re so used to instant gratification and multiples of everything, I could hardly get my head around it.  I knew I had to find out more.

I asked if I could have a behind the scenes look in her studio one afternoon, and handmade took on a whole new meaning.  Scroll through to see her process and stop for the interview along the way – you don’t want to miss it!

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{Andrea shares a studio with other ceramicists, and their entrance is a little store front where you can buy their work.}

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{We met up with Andrea in the studio where she was cutting and weighing clay.}

MH-20150325-42Tell us about your journey towards becoming a ceramicist.

I’ve always felt the need to create. Over the years, I’ve gone through countless mediums (probably spending the most time on sewing), but nothing has felt as natural as pottery.  I started taking a pottery class as a much needed creative outlet last spring. I had been interested in it, but intimidated by the idea of relying on a workspace outside of my home. After doing some research and finding a studio that fit my wish list, I signed up for a two month course. To say that I fell in love with the art form is an understatement.
After saving quite a bit, and with the loving encouragement and support of my boyfriend, I made the jump and left the corporate world last summer to pursue my dream. I have spent the past year working in the wedding industry, continuing pottery classes, and working at the pottery studio as a way to learn more about the overall process.
I’m now selling small batch pottery and select home goods through my brand, Javelina Ranch, while saving to buy some property here in Central Texas and planning next steps.
To call this a journey is so fitting. I’m not even at the halfway point yet, and I’m so so thankful for the love and support I’ve received so far!

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When you make a new ceramic piece, what’s the first step in the process?

Music selection is first! My hands are rarely dry or clean after my earbuds go in. Then it’s time for cutting, weighing and wedging and wedging and wedging. Did I mention wedging? When I get to the studio I’ll usually cut, weigh and wedge anywhere from 10-20lbs of clay depending on what I’m making that day.
The process is tiring, so it’s nice to knock it out and then take a short break before sitting down to throw. I love to throw a pound or two at a time creating smaller pieces like cups and bowls, so I prepare a large tray of perfectly wedged and patted clay balls. It’s amazing how easy centering and throwing can be, if you start out on the right foot.

MH-20150325-21MH-20150325-34MH-20150325-26MH-20150325-23MH-20150325-27 What happens next, and how long does it take?

After wedging, I’ll usually take a short break for the sake of my forearms.
When I am ready to throw, I sit down to the wheel with a large towel and my prepped clay handy. Timing really varies depending on what I’m making, but all pieces start with the same basic steps: centering, drilling, opening, and compressing the bottom. Once those are completed I can pull the clay walls to the desired height and thickness and adjust them to the desired shape. Once a piece is thrown, I’ll cut it from the wheel and place it on a board to dry.

Drying slowly can take anywhere from a day or two depending on the humidity.Next is trimming. Once pieces have dried to about leather hard, I’ll spend a good amount of time trimming the bottom, signing each piece, and carving any designs I may want to add to the sides or edges. Then I set them on new boards to dry completely before loading them into the bisque kiln.

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Tell us about the kiln.

At my studio, we use electric kilns for bisque firings and two large gas kilns for glaze firings. Fun fact: I can just about stand in one of the gas kilns!
The studio as a whole probably produces enough work to run two or more bisque loads a week, and full glaze firings every other week. It’s really quite the production for a community of students and teachers.
When I started there as a student, I wasn’t a part of the behind-the-scenes action. It wasn’t until I started working there that I was trained to load kilns and mix glazes. It’s been such an eye opening experience. SO MUCH work and care goes into the process before you get to a finished piece. First loading the greenware (fragile un-fired pottery) along with kiln shelves weighing anywhere from 15-25lbs, bisque firing, cooling, then unloading the bisqueware and shelves, glazing, then loading a glaze kiln (with more kiln shelves), firing, cooling and finally unloading the finished pieces (and the shelves).
And we’re doing this sort of work in an outdoor kiln shed year round. Which means even now. In the famous Texas summer heat. That’s some serious love and dedication to the craft!
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How has becoming a ceramicist changed you?

 Through pottery, my creative side has a purposeful outlet now; the product of my labor is something that I can take pride in sharing with others. It’s such an amazing feeling to make something that’s functional and beautiful.
And I will add that pottery is a slow art, so I’ve definitely learned how to be patient.

MH-20150325-45MH-20150325-46 Finally, where can we find more Javelina Ranch goodies?

 I’ll be reopening my Etsy shop July 15th and I accept custom orders regularly, so please feel free to email me for a quote any time at andrea@javelinaranch.com!
While I sell primarily online, I LOVE to participate in pop up shops whenever I get the chance. My next scheduled event is set for September 10th at Black Lagoon Gallery.   And you can always follow along on Instagram @JavelinaRanch for behind-the-scenes details, shop updates and giveaways!

Andrea, Thank you one million times for sharing the process of pottery with us!MH-20150325-40


Photography by Minette HandCandice Button