cool stuff i like


January 30, 2015

Happy Friday to you! Another shot of mah birthday cake. Did you miss that post? You do not want to miss that post, here's more of my cake in all its glory! How's this week been for you? Snowy? I was extremely freaking out about all the blizzarding. I've never experienced a blizzard. Did you all have fun in the snow, you Northeasterners? Or was it a pain? Or both? What else is newsworthy - oh did you all notice that post about my winter book stack has not appeared yet? I'm SURE you noticed! So I'm reading this book, and I took pix of it, realizing that I have a LOT to say about it, and it needs it very own post. And down below I'll show you another book from the stack, and thusly I will have WHITTLED down the stack and put the wheels of my winter book post into the meantime, here's what I found online this week:

Supposedly this year's 'Gone Girl'.

This carrot cake looks amazing!

My Valentine's Day Pinterest board.

A shared room for four sisters.

20 new classics every child should own.

This tumeric latte drink sounds awesome.


Winter vibe candles.

Any book that says 'boo boo butt' needs to be in my life. 

Things to do with a giant roll of paper.

Date, apricot, and walnut loaf cake. 

Cool Book of the Week: My blog pal, Danzel, just recently posted that she had ordered 'First Frost' by Sarah Addison Allen and I did a little gasp, because I FORGOT all about this newest book from La Sarah. So I promptly ordered it too! Ok, can we talk (again) about my loooooooooove for 'Garden Spells'??? I LOVE THAT BOOK. I've re-read it at least a dozen times. And I longed for a sequel, but Sarah Addison Allen has always said on her website that plans for a 'Garden Spells' sequel were iffy. Well guess what this is?? A 'GARDEN SPELLS' SEQUEL! I'm so delighted. The magical Waverley family is back, and Claire is making magical candies, and oh my, go get 'Garden Spells' and then have fun with this one! Treat yo-self for Valentine's Day!

Have a lovely weekend! Is the Superbowl happening this weekend? ha ha ha. I'm really not terribly invested, despite the fact that the Seahawks are playing. I'm more interested in the fact that brownies and chili will be happening along with the football game....


chocolate almond cake


January 27, 2015

I thought you might like to see (and make!) my birthday cake. It's been my birthday cake for a few years running now. It's so amazing. A little bit of work, but nothing that can't be knocked out in about an hour, minus the baking time.

I got the recipe from one of my favorite books, 'Tamasin's Kitchen Bible' by Tamasin Day-Lewis (Daniel's sister!). It's great fun to read, and has loads of recipes you'd actually want to make. This is my new requirement for cookbooks. Would I ACTUALLY make them, ever in my life? If not, no matter how beautiful, how cool, how interesting - I'm not going to succumb to the sirens' song of those kind of cookbooks anymore.

Tamasin's book is all about British food, but it's very much a collection of family friendly type of recipes, and I really love it. It's been a big favorite of mine since I demanded, politely requested it for Christmas three years ago. And Tamasin's chocolate cake recipe has become my go-to birthday cake recipe that I make for myself. My cakes for myself are usually always chocolate. Julia's cakes are usually lemon flavored. (I let our local bakery make hers) and Andrew usually gets some kind of anti-cake ~ brownies, cookies, carrot cake or cheesecake.

Oh here's a Very Helpful Tip for you. THIS CAKE IS DELICIOUS. And very rich. You might be tempted, AS I WAS, to think: 'Oh. This is too much delicious cake to remain in my home. That would be bad. Therefore, I must give half of it away to the neighbors.'

DON'T MAKE THAT MISTAKE. I made it, and gave a huge hunk to my delightful and charming neighbors, whom I adore. I love them. And yet, I regret intensely letting so much delicious cake walk away out of my life. If I could take back that moment in time, I would. Because the next day, I had a BIG BIG sad, when I realized how little cake was left.

To make matters worse, my sweet sweet husband got on the phone with his mama, who was coming over to meet our new puppy and bring me a birthday present. During this phone conversation, which I now call The Great Cake Debacle, Andrew's mama offered to make and bring over a marmalade cake. My sweet sweet husband who hates most cakes TURNED HER DOWN. He was like, 'nah, Melissa already made a cake and that would be too much cake.' (He hadn't realized that I had undergone a moment of insanity and given away a lot of the chocolate cake.) I was like, ANDREW. WE DO NOT TURN DOWN OFFERS OF CAKE. EVER.

(especially marmalade cake, which I have never had, but doesn't that sound so nice??)

Anyway. Anyhoo. I've shaken it all off, a la Taylor Swift, and let's just let this serve as a cautionary tale.

1) Make this chocolate cake.
2) Don't give any away.
3) Promptly accept all offers of cake, even if you think you don't want any. You will want it later and then you'll be SAD if you don't have any.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE  via 'Tamasin's Kitchen Bible'


6 oz. good dark chocolate, chopped
6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup ground almonds (I use this kind of almond flour)
1/3 cup plain flour, sifted (I never sift anything)

4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 and 1/2 oz butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 fluid oz heavy cream

Directions for cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease either two 7 inch cake pans or one 8 inch cake pan (which is what I use - I do one layer. I can't find 7 inch tins!). Melt the chocolate either in a saucepan or in the microwave. (which is what I do, checking every 30 seconds until almost melted and then I let the residual heat melt the rest.) Cream the butter with the sugar, either with a hand mixer or food processor, then add the egg yolks one by one, then the almonds, flour and the melted chocolate. Beat the remaining egg whites in a separate bowl until they form soft peaks, then gently fold them into the mixture, little by little.

Divide the mixture between the cake pans and cook in the oven about 20 minutes. If using one deeper tin, cook for slightly longer (mine took about 40-45 minutes actually - I'd check at the 40 min mark - poke in the middle until a skewer is mostly clean.) Tamasin says that her daughter makes this cake and likes to "slightly undercook hers for a damp, sticky center."

Directions for Icing:
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and melt gently over low heat. When smooth, leave to cool and then put into the fridge - it thickens as it cools, and becomes easier to spread. If you have two cake layers, sandwich them together with half the icing and spread the other half on top. If using one cake layer, cover the top and sides with all of the icing.


SO SO GOOD. Don't give any away!



January 25, 2015

(a portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2014. and 2015)

Julia: doing her very best to grow grow grow her hair!

Well, here we are at the second to last Project 52 photo. I'm super excited to make a book of all the photos when I'm finally done. And what's next? Well I hope many of you will follow along with another project I'm embarking upon - an idea that I got from another photographer I follow, who was suggesting that people start a Lovey Project along with her - and I just adored that idea, so I'm going to try and get as many of those done as I can this year, I have several friends on board. Not sure I'll get 52 photos done, which is why I'm just calling it the Lovey Project.

Basically I'm going to visit my friends and photograph their children with their most treasured possession or special loveys - it's win win for all - I get to visit my friends, some of whom I haven't seen in over a year, and they get the best photo I take of their kiddos and their special treasures. And I get to show off all the cuteness on my Melissa Glynn Photography page, which should be really adorable and fun.

cool stuff i like


January 23, 2015

Happy Friday, sweet friends. I'm giving up hope that we're going to get snow this year. Oh how I would love to see our puppy play in the snow. Did you see our puppy? I promise she'll be back on the blog very very soon. (She's sleeping through the night! She's not peeing on the floor! Shhhh, let's not jinx anything!) Let's talk about next week. Because if I write it down, it will be far more likely to happen. Chocolate cake. My second-to-last Project 52. Now that I'm facing the end, I feel sad and have to drag it out. And my winter reading stack. That sounds ambitious! But I can do it, because the Project 52 photo is ready and I'll run it on Sunday.

In the meantime, lovely Cool Stuff awaits:

Spiced vanilla granola.

How to feed your kids the news. 

Fairytale landscape photos.

Did you already hear about the Seattle dog who rode the bus?

Homemade dog cookies. Yeah, I can see where this blog is headed.

Best wintery oatmeal toppings.

A tiny house.

My friend's mama wrote this beautiful short story.

12 Valentine's Day art projects for kids.

Yep. Your weekly Posie Post! I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

Leftover chicken noodle soup. 

Cool Book of the Week: 'The Day No One Was Angry' by Toon Tellegen and Marc Boutavant. I'm so sorry to be a tease, but rest easy that I'll be suffering right along with you, waiting for this one to emerge, when it's published this spring! I'm OBSESSED with Toon Tellegen's work - if you haven't seen his other books, you have to go find them RIGHT NOW. Such beauty. This newest work is illustrated by one of my huge favs in children's art, Marc Boutavant; I'm always raving about him. Toon's books are usually made up of interwoven short stories, and this one features 12 funny and whimsical tales of animals in differing states of anger. Each one processes their emotions in a unique style. I cannot, cannot wait!!!

Have a lovely weekend! I think Andrew is going to handle puppy patrol so that Julia and I can sneak out to see 'Paddington', which is supposed to be amazing. Oh - our puppy likes to watch TV. Hurray!




January 21, 2015

This is our new friend! A baby Brittany spaniel girl. We've named her Nomi, which means 'pleasant' and 'delightful' in Japanese. Delightful! My favorite word!

I used to have a yellow Lab long ago, and I haven't had a young dog since she was around, and OMG SO MUCH WORK. SO MUCH TIRED. But so much cute. She's a very good puppy. Andrew and I keep looking at each other, going, wow we must really love our daughter a lot, to bring this bundle of puppy crazy into our house.

Nomi's name was thisclose to being Andrew Junior - whether or not we got a boy or a girl. We thought it was the greatest joke of all time. If we got a girl, her name was going to be Andie, and if we got a boy, his name was going to be A.J. We really really thought we were going to go with Andrew Junior, but we worried that all hilarity aside, it might have been confusing for the doggy.

Then we considered Holly, because we told Julia on Christmas day that she was getting a dog. And then one day Julia was talking about gnomes and we started singing 'gnomey gnomey gnomey' and I was like, omg I want to name our dog Nomi, because I thought it somehow managed to sound both Japanese and Scandinavian at the same time. ???????

And I was like, hey Andrew, you named the child (he came up with Julia before I even got pregnant and we never really deviated from loving that name) and hey Julia, you named the cats (oh Sally Sparkles just ate another sweater. Think I kid about that cat? I'M NOT KIDDING.), so this time Mommy gets to choose the deciding vote and the dog's name is Nomi.

We think she's the cutest when she's asleep.

Despite the fact that our free time has been cut to essentially zero for awhile, she's very sweet and our sole mission in life is to train her to be better behaved than my mom's doggy (this won't take much, ha ha ha). And now our kiddo can stop accusing us of ruining her childhood by denying her a dog. (Julia looooves the dog, but she's like one of the parents on 'Downton Abbey' - she wanders in and plays with the dog for 5 minutes and then wanders away - we knew all the work would be on us, ha.)

So long story short, we have a dog, here she is. Andrew wanted a dog who could go for long walks with us and actually looked like a dog, as opposed to a third cat. Brittanies supposedly need lots of exercise and I was like, um ok. Hopefully that's going to work out!

Also, pet photography is way hard.

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