Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Half Moon Bay

Back in July, my boyfriend and I had the pleasure of vacationing in Half Moon Bay and San Francisco. Here are some of my favorite pictures.....more to come

Dreaming of Cupcakes

Despite having shot and eaten 19 cupcakes (ok, i didn't really eat all 19), I still crave them. So here's another shot to tantilize your tastebuds.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It Was a Good Idea at the Time

So this past weekend I photographed some cupcakes for a co-worker's wife who owns a cupcake shop in Long Beach, CA. I know what you're thinking. Free cupcakes for life - or at least after the shoot. So I obliged. The shoot itself was a success and quite fun b/c I happen to be a huge fan of these delightful morsels. Perfectly sized - they're seemingly not large enough to make you feel like you've eaten a slab of cake yet leave you satisfied.

Well, this feeling of bliss quickly changed when I learned I had just agreed to take home 19 freshly-baked cupcakes in flavors like pumpkin spice, mint chocolate, lemon buttercream, and even Nutella! My boyfriend and I devised a 2-part plan to split the cupcakes in 4 pieces so that we could sample a few and not feel too terribly guilty....or sick. Part II involved us bringing the cupcakes to a bike race and "donating" them to worthy competitors.

Naturally we forgot to bring them the next morning. Safe to say, we polished off a few more and I photographed a couple as mementos of this cupcake invasion. I've included one of the pictures above. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Latvian Pierogies

This past Easter I went to my mom's house in Rochester, NY and I had share some pictures of my mom's famous pierogies. I had forgotten they were on my memory card until I recently photographed the cookies in my previous post. While I can't share the recipe because it's a family secret, I can share with you the differences between Latvian and Polish pierogies. The only other time I've tasted a pierogie like my mom's has been in Latvia.

So if anyone is at all curious, the main difference is that they are better. :-) Yes, I've tried various iterations at Veselka and Kiev in NYC's East Village but they don't compare. Another difference is that they're baked and not boiled or pan-fried. They don't require the accroutrements often paired with the Polish version like sour cream or apple sauce. These are enjoyed on their own, slightly warmed. Vegetarians beware b/c my mom never diverges from the traditional carniverous filling of bacon, ham and onions. Anyway, if you ever do find the Latvian version of the recipe, give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Please a Crowd

My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is not a secret. It hasn't been handed down by generations in the Serdans family, nor does it include any quirky instructions or a pinch of this and dash of that. The only specification I would include is getting a higher quality chocolate b/c it makes for better "sampling." Sometimes I'll be festive and throw in some cranberries or walnuts but they're just as good plain. I recently brought these cookies to my friend's housewarming BBQ party and they were gone in a matter of minutes! Anyway, you can find the recipe on the back of most chocolate chip bags.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls and bake for 8-10 minutes. My oven prefers 10 minutes, yielding a moist and chewy cookie. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Going Green

Well, I'm ashamed to admit that it has been nearly two months since my last post. So what better way to reinvigorate my blog, than to write a post about Earth Day. Happy Earth Day!

I've made a conscious effort to become more green and wanted to share some of the surprisingly easy ways you can make a difference everyday:

-using energy-efficient lightbulbs in my entire apt. (my apt. building actually provided them to all tenants)

-using reusable, canvas grocery bags

-recycling glass/aluminum. Oddly enough, paper has been difficult b/c my apt. building doesn't have recycle bins! But at least I recycle all my paper at work.

-washing my clothes in cold water; it saves energy

-air-drying the dishes in the dishwasher to save energy

-keeping a well-stocked freezer; refrigerators expend more energy to keep the empty space cold

-using cloth napkins instead of disposable paper napkins

-reusing ziploc bags

-going paperless - many credit card companies offer customers the option to get monthly statements delivered via email.

-keeping the heat at 60 degrees Fahrenheit - saves energy and significantly lowers my heating bill (obviously living in a warm climate helps!)

-getting my car cleaned at the car wash - b/c you use more water at home than they do at the car wash. Although I must admit, I've become accustomed to just not washing my car as often.

-using an aluminum Sigg water bottle at the gym

-changing my car's oil every 3K miles, checking tire pressure, not storing extra junk in the car to weigh it down, etc. to keep it running more efficiently.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Still Lifes

So before I inundate anyone reading my blog with tons of travel pictures, let's take a pause and check out some of my other favorite things - food. I actually took these pictures with an 8x10 camera and scanned the worn and weathered Polaroid. I like the effect it created - it looks much more like a charcoal sketch. Enjoy.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Church Bells of Riga

And speaking of churches in Riga, here are a few pictures of a church and some old church bells....

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Bird's Eye View of Riga, Latvia

More pictures of Riga from a church tower. I'm not even upset that the weather was dreary - it added to the city's mystique. I couldn't get enough of the city's architecture and its livelihood, mostly because it was was unlike I had imagined.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Latvia

In the autumn of 2006 I took my first trip to Latvia. My family is from Latvia - both of my parents were born there and some of family still resides there. And now that it's part of the European Union, it is slowly becoming a hip travel destination. Part of me wants Latvia remain "undiscovered" b/c it makes the destination that much more special. But alas, that would also mean denying millions of people the opportunity to satisfy their wanderlust with something extraordinary. :-)

So here are the first of many more images to come of "My Latvia." Latvia's capital, Riga, is divided into the Old and New Town. Old town Riga still graces its visitors with beautiful Art Nouveau architecture on streets like Alberts Iela and Elizabets Iela. I'll include more examples of the architecture and city in forthcoming posts. But for now, enjoy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Hi! Welcome to my blog Joe De Vivre. I wanted to create a blog to express the enjoyment of life and share my appreciation for the little things that, to me, make each day more sunny and bright....things like photography, traveling, and cooking. I'm an avid photographer so all the photos on my blog are my own (constructive criticism appreciated). My goal is to update my blog weekly but being a 9-5er may interfere from time to time. Hope you enjoy! -Mara