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We are all looking for a little distraction these days, and I have been spending so much time on YouTube that someone will have to stage an intervention as soon as we can be closer than six feet to one another again. One of favorite things to binge are the tutorials by Royalty Soaps. These incredible soaps are a family endeavor, but the main soap maker in these videos is Katie, the “Duchess of Suds.”
I have seen “fancy” soap bars in the store before, but I had no idea how far a seasoned soap artist could take things. So many techniques and ideas! And they come up new themes and ideas every single month!
The Royalty Soaps crew puts out videos every Wednesday and Saturday and have been putting out videos for a few years now, so there is plenty of content to enjoy. I’ve literally spent multiple hours watching episode after episode.
After all of that soap inspiration, I do have admit that I finally broke down and ordered some very basic soap making supplies. I’m not starting out with the signature cold process soap that Katie created, instead starting with a much simpler melt and pour base, but I am excited and as soon as I get my supplies I can’t wait to start creating.
All images are directly from the Royalty Soap social media sources. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest. All of their fantastic creations are available for purchase on their website.
I will say, while the not being able to be around other humans thing is kind of a bummer, it is helping me focus on some of the items that have been on my to-do list for a while, like recipe development. A friend of mine has a mulberry bush in her back yard, and when she dropped off a bag of berries the other day (while practicing safe non-contact social distancing), I had exactly what I needed to elevate a recipe I’ve been considering for a while. This recipe is essentially a ricotta pound cake, which is perfectly lovely on its own – I mean, come on… it’s cake -, but I like when a recipe is more than just sweet. I want a little complexity that makes for a more satisfying bake and a more interesting flavor. I’d never tried mulberries before this, and I’d describe them as a cross between a blueberry and a blackberry: sweet, a little tart, and minimal seeds. I’ve already sent a text to my friend asking for more as soon as her mulberry bush produces another round of berries.
- 3/4 cup Softened Butter
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 tsps Vanilla
- 15 oz Full Fat Ricotta (drain off any excess liquid)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 1/2 tsps Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 1/2 cups Fresh Mulberries
- Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9″ loaf pan.
- Beat together butter and sugar on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs in one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next one.
- Add in vanilla and ricotta a mix until combined. ( Batter may look lumpy or curdled, but it won’t matter once you’ve added the dry ingredients)
- In a separate bowl, combine salt, flour and baking powder and whisk ingredients together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time until combined, do not over mix.
- Gently fold in fresh mulberries and pour batter into greased loaf pan.
- Bake in the oven at 350 F for 20 minutes. Rotate pan and reduce heat to 325 F and allow to bake for an additional 40 minutes.
- Allow loaf to cool for half an hour before turning out of pan.
- Once the loaf is completely cool slice and enjoy!
*If you can’t find mulberries, you can use blackberries instead.
Andy and I both really enjoyed the finished product. A lot of times Andy plays guinea pig for me, but his reactions can be a little lackluster. I bake enough that he rarely gets “excited” about new recipes, but when we were sitting on the couch the following day, enjoying a slice for dessert he turned to me and said, “yeah, this is really good cake.” So there you have it.
I have been spending a lot more time online the last couple of weeks, which is something that I’d imagine many of you are also doing, and I feel like I am seeing more ads than I usually do. It is completely possible that more time online = more ads, but I do think that it is very possible that many retailers are increasing their online presence in response to us all being stuck at home. Either way, I have a constant low level thrum of anxiety all day every day, and all of these ads are making it really difficult to not indulge in one of my not-so-great self-soothing behaviors, stress shopping. In an effort to distract myself, I’ve created a wishlist of some of the items I am finding particularly alluring right now.
- White Dogwood Enamel Pin – Seniman
- Cat Pocket Tote – Triple T Studios
- Starry Glasses – Where Light
- Kitchen Witch Shirt – Hedge Witch Homebody
- Galaxy Watch – Stardust Watches
- Amethyst Geode Bath Bomb – Tamed Wild
- Girlboss Ring – Gemandi Jewelry
- Professional Temporary Tattoos – Tattist
- Dress Pants Yoga Pants – Betabrand
I am REALLY considering those star speckled frames; they are so cute, and honestly, I could use a pair of back up frames to keep at the office. Likewise, I am getting very spoiled wearing comfy clothing all day every day, and those “dress pant yoga pants” would definitely make the transition back into work wear a little easier.
Things have been a little crazy in the world lately, and we have all found ourselves having to adjust to a new way of life. Here is what’s going on in the Bucior household currently:
Reading – I have been working my way back through the Rocktown Series by Kelley Armstrong. There have been five books so far, and I am really enjoying the escapism that this vividly written mystery series provides. I’m not saying that I have any interest in living off the grid in the Canadian wilderness, but it is a lot of fun to read about.
Listening – To my cat Zo snore, he is currently curled against my feet while I type. It’s very sweet, but he is glued me all day every day, and yeah…I could use maybe a little teeny tiny bit of extra space. I would also enjoy being able to stretch out on my own damn couch. Just saying.
Wishing – That I could find a little more motivation. I am doing my best to stay busy and get things done around the house, but honestly it’s hard to keep things going. Most days I want to just curl up under a pile of cats and blankets and watch Netflix all day. And I am doing a little of that, but my current deal with myself is that I can do that as long as I am doing laundry or getting up and cleaning or putting things away during commercial breaks or in between episodes. It looks like we might all be housebound for a while, and a wonderfully clean house would make things a little nicer.
Trying – Burlesque dancing! Fannie Sinclair is offering free online classes on Monday nights during the quarantine. I took my first class last night. I haven’t done any sort of class like that since college, and while I definitely have a LOT to learn, the routine was fun and very beginner friendly. If you’re interested in giving it a try too, you can tune in next Monday on her Instagram Live.
Smelling – Dinner in the oven. One positive (?) thing about this situation is that it has helped us get back into the routine of cooking at home more. Eating out was so easy, but with even take out being a bit dodgy, we’re both more comfortable utilizing the contents of our fridge. Will this trend last once things go back to “normal”? Who knows, but as of today, my house smells kind of amazing.
This week has been a much needed break from the relentless Florida heat. The overcast skies and sporadic showers have dropped the temperature to the mid 80’s and added a lovely breeze that blows away the opressive blanket of humidity that settled over Tallahassee during May. I actually paused for a moment after I walked out of the office yesterday and just closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The I got in my car a drove home because it was Friday and the weekend was calling. As I write this my outdoor kitty is sunbathing tummy in the air and I am trying to convince myself that it is time to get up and get things done. In case you want to procrastinate a little more, here are some links to help you out.
I cannot wait to dive into some of these Trader Joe’s new seasonal items. It counts as “grocery shopping” right? I’m just being responsible.
A friend gave me some coffee sugar scrub cubes for my birthday and now that they’re all gone I am considering making some for my self with the added bonus of a little aroma therapy.
I am having an exceptionally difficult time falling asleep lately. An internet search yielded these tips and I plan on trying a few of them out tonight. *fingers crossed*
There is always a reusable straw in my purse these days, and I definitely think that I can easily work a few more of these eco-friendly items into my domestic routine.
I am a bit fan of services like Uber, especially when I am traveling, but it is true that you never know what you might hear when you get into that car.
I don’t normally spend a whole lot of time in the sun, but you better believe that if I decide to hit the beach or the pool I will have one of these extra pool floats in tow.
Image from here.