FOOD: Springtime Lemon Cake Roll

Hi guys! Jen from Lemon Drop Love here. Today I'm sharing a recipe that's perfect for Spring! Before making this recipe, I had never made a cake roll and to be honest, after eating it, I think I am officially converted. I say, bring on more cake rolls please! The tart whipped cream snuggled between the spongy lemon cake, makes the perfect bite. I served a slice with berries and a cup of tea and all the flavors went perfectly together. Now it's time for you to try this Lemon Cake Roll....enjoy!

Springtime Lemon Cake Roll
3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice (about 1 medium or 1/2 large)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Powdered sugar, to aid in rolling
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd (or add to desired taste)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS: (recipe adapted via Crazy for Crust)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll (10x15) pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. (Use the spray with flour or actually grease and flour the foil to avoid sticking.)
  • Beat eggs at high speed for 2 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. Beat in sugar, lemon juice, and zest.
  • Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients just until blended.
  • Spread in prepared pan. Batter will be in a very thin layer and you will need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to spread it to all the corners of the pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes (mine took 10).
  • While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup). As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over on the kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove foil carefully.
  • Working at the short end, fold the edge of the towel over the cake. Roll tightly, rolling up the cake into the towel. Let cool completely while rolled, at least one hour.
  • While the cake is chilling, make the filling. Beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the lemon curd. Chill until ready to use.
  • When cake is cool, carefully unroll the towel. Spread the lemon whipped cream over the cake. (You might have some whipped cream left over.) Gently but tightly, re-roll the cake and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill until it firms up a bit, at least one hour or overnight. Slice and serve. Cake will last covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

-post by jen costea

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6 Vacation Swimwear

It's almost May & lots of my friends are headed on vacation. I never understood that. As the weather gets warmer, I tend to enjoy where I am. However, come June or July this NYC weather gets awfully HOT!!  

Speaking of a trip, we may have a lovely sponsored VACA in the works, but won't spill the beans just yet...stay tuned.  Don't you just love the idea of sunbathing by a pool or beach in a terrific bikini??  I do.  In fact, I can't even remember the last time I had tan lines....bring them on! Below are some of the prettiest swimwear online, I actually own // 1 & // 2. 

Which do you see yourself wearing on vacation?

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DESIGN: Geometric

Hi everyone, its Lisa with Gem Daily and I wanted to share some fun geometric design pieces that are all inspired by the amazing space designed by architect, James Merrell. His work is transforming the design world and I am loving his aesthetic and style- always so detailed and fresh. Take my inspiration photo of the wet bar, for example. He has really let the gorgeous geometric tiles do all the talking and make the statement in this space. The geometric lines are so popular right now and there are easy ways to incorporate them into your space with simple, statement pieces. Eat your heart out!

one/ stool
two/ pendant
three/ planters
four/ divider 

-post by lisa fisbeck

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Bright Bazaar Book Review

Thank God it's Friday.

Before I head out to sort of enjoy the weekend (have some work to do still)....I thought I'd review this one book! I recall when I first started writing on my blog - back in 2006, I was hungry for interior Design. We had purchased our first home around that time & were looking for creative & colorful ways to decorate. The trend at the time was full of mixed patterns & super bright colors, with lots of typography.  Since then, my style has changed drastically.  Even though my Interior style is less playful & more sedated (maybe due to age) - I still love color. Although it tends to be more in art than on actual decor pieces.

Anyway, I didn't want to pass up the chance to introduce you to my friend Will Taylor's first book, (Which I received an advanced copy of), Bright Bazaar: Embracing Color For Make-You-Smile Style.  He's based out of the UK & has an interesting and unique eye for color, with no fear of mixing & matching patterns. Something I'm not good at....but Will seems to tackle this quite well in his new book.  He's known for his catchphrase, "beige is boring" & after looking through his book - you will understand why he says this! I love his sense of confidence when he styles room together, it's definitely a skill to use bright colors while mixing & matching patterns .....yet still making it look fantastic.  Book comes out on April 29th!

I highlighted my favorite sections in this 350 page book ....& I really think he has a keen eye for children's rooms, hmm maybe something he will explore more heavily? never know right? You can say hi to Will on his blog or maybe even catch him during his book signing tour!

-images by jen ramos

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Hi ladies, Rachel of Life Unsweetened here again to talk about the latest beauty buzz. Today I'm focusing on spring 2014 beauty trends. It's hard to believe winter is finally behind us, but now we can all pull out the coral blushes and pastel nail polishes we've been hoarding all winter. While I didn't have the opportunity to see any of the spring runway shows (I am just a normal girl after all), I caught up on all the coverage via my favorite blogs and magazines. Here are 3 of my favorite spring beauty trends - what are yours? First up is orange lips.

While this shade might seem scary, I promise that it's not. If you're a newbie, choose an orange-red or coral shade. If you want to go bolder, choose a vibrant, bold orange like the new Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel in "122 All The Way". Next is dewy, glowing skin. This look is the perfect mix between winter's matte finish and summer's sweaty complexion (ok, so that last part is a joke- sort of). For a dewy finish, choose a moisturizing and illuminizing foundation or BB cream, like the Edward Bess Ultra Dewy Complexion Perfector.

If you don't want to splurge on a new foundation, try adding a drop of pure Argan oil on top of your foundation and gently press it into your skin. The last spring beauty trend I'm loving is the classic cat eye. Sure, some would argue this look is always in style, but spring is time to amp it up a notch. Practice makes perfect, so find your favorite liquid eye liner (or use this handy Cat Eye Velvet Eyeliner Applique from Sephora) and get going!

-post by rachel

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Cocoa & Hearts Pineapple Art

Pineapples are one of my favorite fruits.  According to a few articles I've read in the past, it may have originated from Brazil or South America. It actually was introduced into the European markets through Christopher Columbus who discovered the fruit in Guadeloupe in 1493. Not many people know this fact. It's a symbol of hospitality, so it's used as decoration in many homes in order to convey, 'welcome to our home'.  It's been a staple in the design industry - seen on everything from wallpaper to tea towels.

They're just so beautiful and has inspired me to paint it in a unique & colorful way.  Of course we don't see hot pink pineapples, but in a Cocoa & Hearts art world, anything is possible & diversity is welcomed. Crazy huh? Each 11" x 14" piece is hand painted using acrylics on Canson, acid free paper.  They're all unique & will come signed with a certificate of authenticity.  Framing is optional on some of the pieces, but I'd suggest framing these in a gold frame, looks the best!

{ These original art pieces will go on SALE soon via my Cocoa & Hearts gallery - Stay tuned!! }

Proceeds from this artwork will go toward our adoption

ALSO,  If you have a brick & mortar shop (anywhere in the world) & would like to carry these original paintings in your store, please email us here.

-images by jen ramos

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DESIGN: Mix & Match

Hi everyone, its Lisa from Gem Daily with another obsession of mine: dining rooms. I just love how they are much more casual and personal these days and everyone is straying away from the stuffy, traditional dining rooms that we all grew up in. Dining rooms are the most perfect way to bring in a statement lighting fixture piece, a classic table and unique seating; all are investments but that doesn't mean they can't have a bit of an edge!

Check out some dining rooms I've been coveting lately and funky pieces I've been dying to mix and match!

Kristen Nix via domino 

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three // wishbone chair
four // beck pendant
five // evers pendant
six // cannon lamp
eight // atherton table

-post by lisa fisbeck

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This is a new series called -  "Morning BEAUTY Routine" - it's all about what YOU put on your face every morning.  I, (Jen Ramos) featured myself in the first one, which you can read here. we have Jenni from the beautiful blog, Love & Lion.  This is a great way to learn about beauty products others are using & what they think of them!

I have battled acne since my late middle school days, and pregnancy did NOT give me a “glow”. It just made my skin issues worse. I had originally tried Proactiv’s first 3 step system years back, and found that it only worsened my breakouts and over dried my skin. No thanks! Out of sheer desperation to really gain control over my skin, I decided to give their new system a go. SO glad that I did!! You can completely customize your package (additionally I use the mark fading pads & purifying mask), have it delivered to your doorstep monthly and the customer service has been amazing so far! My favorite part of the ENTIRE system is their new moisturizer! WHOA!! It is so refreshing and smells incredible!! I would dive into the actual jar if it were big enough. Also, the toner is a must for me. It restores my skins PH balance before I complete the rest of my routine.  Since I have started using this system, I can’t stop touching my face. It is the smoothest I have felt in years. I am also happy to report that I have had NO breakouts since my first week of use. I will actually leave my house with no makeup on, and that is big for me. I can’t rave enough about these products! I highly recommend giving it a try if you deal with acne at all.

I have tried several bb creams, and it is hard to find the perfect one if you have fair skin. I read a really enthusiastic review on this one in particular, so I decided to try it on a beach getaway we recently took. I was previously using L’OREAL’s bb cream, but I officially made the switch to Olay BB cream. It is so lightweight, but still offers such great coverage. It is not as “orangey” as the L’OREAL I was using. The Olay just gives me a really nice dewy glow. It really feels more like a lotion rather than a foundation AND its got the sunscreen I need, which is super important to me (especially while using an acne fighting system). It is all kinds of amazing! I am a forever fan!!

OK! You know, how the dad on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” thinks that Windex cures all? Well, I guess that would be me with Vaseline. It is just a product I always have on hand. It is great for healing dry skin (especially cracked heels in the summertime), chapped lips and even great for removing stubborn makeup. I alternate between this and Nivea chapstick to keep my lips hydrated. They are ALWAYS dry, so applying Vaseline at night before bed and before any makeup goes on in the a.m. really helps replenish any moisture that my lips might have lost overnight. Smooth, hydrated lips make you look younger....true story!

This product called my name from the shelf with its packaging alone. I am a sucker for great packaging! I tried Balms Away in the store before purchasing, and I couldn’t believe how smooth it made my skin feel. I use it in the morning to remove any excess liner or mascara that may have rubbed off while I was sleeping. I try not to wash my eyes with facial cleansers as they can be drying and irritating. This eye makeup remover is  fragrance free and not as greasy feeling to me as Vaseline. It is perfect for my sensitive eye area.

- If you're a blogger & would love to participate this series, email us pics of your FAVE morning beauty facial products & a pic or two of yourself.  Pls send in a similar format as this post above. If we like what you sent, we will feature you!!

-post by jenni from love & lion blog

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FOOD: crème brûlée

Hi there Made By Girl readers, Amanda here again from the blog A Life Well Lived. Today I am sharing a super easy, super delicious, and naturally gluten-free dessert - my cardamom vanilla crème brûlée. 

More and more I find friends and family not eating gluten or at least trying to limit it (myself included).  But that doesn’t meant they can’t have dessert! So I am always on the lookout for desserts, or any food for that matter, that is naturally gluten free. This crème brûlée is perfect. Using only egg yolks, cream, sugar, and natural flavorings - an ounce of gluten never touches this dessert. 

Plus I love the way it smells and tastes. Cardamom and vanilla are such a great combination. The warm vanilla compliments the spicy cardamom making a unique and delicious dessert. But best part about this creme brûlée is that it can be any flavor that you want. If you want cinnamon, just replace the cardamom and vanilla bean with a couple cinnamon sticks and let that steep in in the milk and sugar. Or what about coffee - just use to some crushed coffee beans. Or how about orange zest or mint or even basil. The list could go on. I am going to stick with vanilla and cardamom but feel free to play around with new flavors.  

And of course a highlight to this dessert is the crunchy burnt sugar on top. If you don’t have a blow torch, you can use the broiler in your oven. 

Cardamom Vanilla Crème Brûlée

5 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cups sugar, plus 6 tablespoons, separated  
1/2 vanilla bean split in half and seeded 
3 crushed cardamom pods 
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F and arrange the ramekins on a rimmed pan. 

In a medium saucepan over moderately high heat, combine the heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean and its seeds,cardamom pods, and the salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, bring mixture to a low simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes. 

While the cream is heating, combine the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whisk to combine. When cream mixture is ready, gradually add about 1/3 of the hot cream mixture to the yolks, whisking constantly. Once fully combined and the eggs are tempered, add the remaining hot cream mixture and stir to fully combine. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Carefully ladle or pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them to the rim.

Place the pan in the oven and carefully pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the edges have set but the center still jiggles when the ramekin is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool on a rack for 30 minutes then wrap individually and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve sprinkle the top of each custard with a thin even layer of remaining sugar, using about 1 tablespoon per ramekin. Use a kitchen blowtorch or the broiler to evenly melt and caramelize the sugar. Serve immediately.

-post by amanda frederickson

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Lamps Plus Giveaway

How would you like one of my Icons Collection Designs from Lamp Plus??  Here's your chance to win.

I’m pleased to have my designs featured as part of the exclusive Icons Collections from Lamps Plus. The “Icons Collection” is comprised of an elite number of designers asked to design a shade pattern that is unique and available exclusively at Lamps Plus for a limited time.  My Chevron lamp shade pattern is inspired by the artfully defined lines of an ikat textile.  

The pattern is also customizable in the Lamps Plus Design Your Own feature, which gives you the ability to select the pattern, color, and base. 

Lamps Plus is launching an exciting sweepstakes where you can win one of five Icons Collection table lamps. Enter to win here.  

After you’ve entered, you will be prompted to earn extra entries by referring your friends and increase your odds of winning.  See the entire Made By Girl collection and don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes! Good luck!

-post by jen ramos

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FASHION: Minty Spring

Hi everyone! Adri of Adri's World. I have to say, the best part of fashion is the change of seasons, and the colors that come with it. This Spring we will be seeing a lot of pastels & Mint is my favorite. It can be styled with lighter colors for a softer look or with edgy prints like that leopard bag too!

I love that Mint can be worn with gold accents and with silver too, like in those glitter flats. Love!
A blazer can be a great way to add this color to an everyday outfit or maybe a cute top with jeans, a skirt or if it's warm enough shorts. And if you want only a bit of this color, an amazing nail polish, a bracelet or earrings will look perfect!

Are you a fan of Mint for Spring? 

- post by Adri Reynoso
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Beauty: Rosy Pink Makeup

Hi MADE BY GIRL readers, it's Rachel from Life Unsweetened. If you're anything like me, you're excited about all the possibilities of Spring. Although the weather outside feels more like winter lately in some parts of the country, spring is here!  With the change in seasons comes a standard change in makeup as well. Instead of the matte foundation and dark liners we loved in winter, spring is all about a dewy finish and pastel hues. This gorgeous rosy look features pretty pink cheeks and shadow and a girly milkmaid braid.

To copy this look, let's start off with your hair. Prep by spraying with a texturizing spray for hold. To make a simple milkmaid braid, part your hair down the center and then divide your hair into two sections. Braid each section so you have pigtails. Then criss-cross each braid and pin with bobby pins.

To get a youthful, dewy look on your skin, try a spray foundation, like the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation. Once it dries, apply a pink blush to cheeks, like Buxom True Hue Blush in "Blushing Peach". Make sure to blend enough with a brush that the blush mimics your natural flush color, since sometimes the color in the package can be intimidating. Now it's time to focus on the eyes. Pink shadow might seem odd, but if you choose a pastel shade with some shimmer you're set.

Try the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in "Ballet Pink"- you won't be disappointed. The model's pale complexion and light hair calls for a black-brown mascara, since dark black can be too harsh. Try the Clinique High Impact Mascara in "Black/Brown" for a similar effect.

-post by rachel

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My Spring Wishlist

The weather here in NYC is sort of warming up - but it's been taking forever - how about in your town??

I can't wait to start wearing some Spring outfits! Come on weather! These are a few of my favorites right now - although the only thing I own are the Deborah Lippman nail varnish. woo hoo! Everything else is on my wishlist.  

Do you have your Spring wardrobe ready?

1. black dress via zara  // 2. heel via schutz   // 3. nina ricci dress via the outnet  // 4. iro saika boot via the dreslyn  // 5. dress via nasty gal 6. rebecca taylor twill blazer // 7. rise in god's love tee via praise clothing // 8. deborah lippmann polish // 9. rag & bone boyfriend jean via net-a-porter // 10. quilted mini affair via rebecca minkoff

-post by jen ramos

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10 Reasons to Send a Handwritten Note

When was the last time you wrote a handwritten note or card?  What's the point when we can just send an email, right? 

Well, there certainly is a point to sending handwritten notes. It allows the receiver to receive a "thoughtful" gesture.  It shows that the sender took time to write the note - & that is definitely much more meaningful.  I don't know about you - but the few times I receive a handwritten note or card in the mail, I got excited! Don't you?? When writing notes, you can throw in your own personality & even show off your great penmanship (if you have) - and if not, no worries. You still stand out in the crowd for sending handwritten versus digital.

There is something about's sort of vintage & special I guess. Ok, so for letters, you can easily send note cards when you want to send a simple message like "I love you" to someone special. Who has time to write a long letter? Well, not many of us, but a sentence or  two on a note card shows that you're still willing to take time out to send something personal when most people won't.  In many instances it gives you an edge. When I want to send a BIG thank you to a client - 99.9% of the time, I mail them a handwritten thank you card. The best part is... you can choose from so many styles, from luxurious to sweet & simple!

Below are 10 reasons why I feel handwritten notes are awesome:
  • they're thoughtful
  • it's a nice gesture
  • makes people feel important
  • it's exciting to open
  • feels good to receive beautiful & luxurious card stock / note cards like this one
  • it has more meaning behind it
  • great way to encourage or brighten someone's day
  • makes you stand out to a client 
  • when a man writes a handwritten love note, it's much sweeter
  • it can be kept as a reminder or memento

Now you see...handwritten notes are a great way to show what's in your heart.

Who was the last person you sent a handwritten note to?

/// All note cards available via MADE BY GIRL ///

-post by jen ramos

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DESIGN: Multiplicity in Design

Hi everyone, it's Lisa from Gem Daily! Lately I've been hunting for interesting art for a large space in my house and have come up unsuccessful. Throughout this search, I have discovered that so many interior design elements are most intriguing and visually strong when in multiples. Whether it be a gallery wall or an arrangement of gorgeous light fixtures, there is just something about taking one particular design element and repeating it that makes it so much more appealing! Thus, the theory of power in numbers.

Designers are even taking unconventional, unique objects that on their own are simple, but when multiplied, their impact is much more powerful. Take Kelly Wearstler's application of the tortoise shells at the Tides Hotel in South Beach for example- just one of these shells is interesting but once she applies hundreds to the wall, it quickly becomes a focal point with unforgettable detail.

OR what about the amazing woven lanterns in George Clooney's Courtyard just recently featured in Architectural Digest? The sheer amount of fixtures is enough to create a stunning scene, but the height at which they are hung is the ultimate cherry on the cake.

I really love spotting thoughtful and smart retail spaces that utilize great interior design as a way to make their goodies look even better. Like this Artifacts store in Dunhua by Taiwanese interior designers Michelle Wei and Cheng Chia Hao, for example. Their shoe displays are so unique and architectural, each shoe is almost like a piece of art, framed and illuminated. The rows and rows of displays are much more powerful as an entire composition than if we just saw one display on its own.

And finally, it doesn't get much better than this vertical garden by Joost Bakker. By taking really simple materials and multiplying them, this outdoor space is transformed on a much grander scale.

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-post by lisa fisbeck

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