AMANDA BESS

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To Brunch or Not To Brunch || Bacon Hash

bacon-1
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When my boyfriend and I first started dating we would go out for brunch every weekend. It was the most delicious of times, and also the most expensive of times. Rather than confess my financial shortcomings to him, I convinced my beau that, staying in and cooking our own brunch would be SO much better. I'm still not sure if he believed that giant load of horse poop, or if he just felt bad for me, but either way, I got my way and we started making (some) of our weekend morning meals at home.

Here are some snaps of this past Sunday's brunch!

bacon-2
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bacon-3
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bacon-4
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bacon-5
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bacon-6
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It's Been One Week || Celebratory Sea Salt Brownies

brownie
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To celebrate my first week of regular posting, I decided to treat myself to some homemade sea salt brownies. I don't usually eat what I bake - not because it isn't tasty - but by the time I've finished all the measuring, tasting, whisking, tasting, pouring, and some more tasting, I've consumed enough sugar to send an average sized toddler into a diabetic coma.

But there is something special about these brownies. They are incredibly simple to make. I'm talking only two bowls and a wooden spoon, kind of simple. They've also got the most perfect salty sweet flavor profile that makes them highly addictive. I dare you to eat just one. I dare you!

I use this recipe (sans the caramel, although I've made it that way too and it is equally delicious, but a little too sweet for my liking).

Photoshop Phorum || How to Make A GIF

Photoshop Phorum - GIF

When it comes to all things Adobe, I am entirely self taught. I don't mean that as a brag - because there is no pride in wasting countless hours googling answers to questions you're not even sure how to ask. Trust me. But if there is one thing I have learned from all that googling, it's the value of a good tutorial - one that includes step by step screen shots, tips and tricks.

So in the belated spirit of the holidays, I wanted to start a new series: Photoshop Phorum. Yes, I know forum is not spelt with a "ph", but I just loooovvvve a good alliteration.

Our first tutorial will take you step by step through creating your very own animated GIF. To quote Beyonce, "Don't be scared by the rocks that I got". And by rocks I, of course, mean the GIF at the top of this post. A GIF is just a sequence of images. That's it! The magic happens when you upload that sequence to the internet, where a browser will display the images frame by frame creating the animated effect. See, it's not so scary.

But for the sake of simplicity, I have created this, more basic, GIF for the tutorial.

GIF example

Now, let's get learning!

GIF step 1
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GIF step 2
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GIF step 3
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GIF step 4
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GIF step 5
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GIF step
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GIF step 7
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GIF step 8
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Brooklyn Baked Goods || Black Bottom Oat Pie

black bottom oat pie 1
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Ever since the gourmet cupcake bubble burst back in April, I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for the next next overpriced culinary craze to hit the markets. And after months of patiently waiting, I think I have finally found just the niche! Pie shops! While cupcakes may be smaller and less ridden with guilt, pies are more fun for sharing.

But it's not all rainbows, sugar and gluten free flour. Pies are hard. They require all sorts of timers, beads, birds and worst of all patience to bake. I learned this dark, burnt side of pie making after my recent attempt at Black Bottom Oat Pie. The ladies over at the Brooklyn pie shop - Four Twenty Blackbirds - make it look and taste so effortless. But after two (yes, two) attempts, I learned that pie baking requires more than your average pastry prowess.

black bottom oat pie 2
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black bottom oat pie 3
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Polar Vortex Pleasures || Pumpkin Cupcakes

pumpkin cupcakes
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Today's treats are inspired by (my) twist on the Christmas classic - "Baby it's a polar vortex outside...". Temperatures here in NYC have become literally painful. The simple thought of going outside is making my eyes water and my nose run. But like the old adage goes, when the temperatures get below freezing, the freezing get in the kitchen and make something warm and yummy!

recipe from my dear friend and long lost love, Ina Garten's cookbook

rugelach
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rugelach
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rugelach
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happy new year || let's get poppin

new years
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Happy New Year folks! We're only a few days into 2014, but I can already tell it is going to be an amazing year. I don't usually get a sense for these things, but ever since the clock struck midnight last Tuesday, my spidey senses have been tingling. Tingling folks! 2014 will mark my sophomore year of adulthood. I survived the cold, harsh, summer-break-less, freshman year and now I am ready to sashay into this next year with a renewed sense of confidence and hope. Maybe this will be the year I finally start shaving my legs more than once a quarter? Or maybe this will be the year I remember to buy new toothpaste before the tube looks flatter than Debra Messing's chest??

The possibilities are truly endless! But to help narrow and focus my goals and aspirations for the year, I've written down a few resolutions.

Blog more often. Make more times for my friends. Learn new coding languages. Design and launch my step dad's website. Learn more about photography styling and composition.

lust list || fall fashions

lust list
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Well folks, it's official. fall has fallen here in NYC. The mornings are crisp and full of sunshine while the evenings are downright freezing and unbearable. The smell of cold air has begun to fill the streets (call me crazy, but I think temperatures/seasons have a smell). And who could forget all the pumpkin everything that comes along with fall!?

But if I had to pick my most favorite-est thing about fall, it would undoubtedly be the clothes. After a summer of sweat, body odor and pit stains, I can't help but squeal a little at the thought of welcoming in my clean, fresh, untainted fall wardrobe. Flannels, and plaids and scarves, oh my!

Here are a few pieces that aren't apart of my fall closet... yet!

homemade holiday sweets || chocolate raspberry rugelach

rugelach
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Growing up, there were certain deserts that came standard with every holiday meal. At a minimum, there were fourteen different flavors of rugelach, some version of a rainbow cake and if I was really really lucky, my mom would also put out some black and white cookies.

In addition to being on my table year after year, these deserts also shared something else... they belong to the black sheep of holiday deserts. The almost unspeakable "store bought" category. Until now!

Over the weekend my boyfriend and I got our hands (and my entire kitchen) very dirty when we made these homemade rugelach. While I don't mean to offend my mother's choice for store bought, these bad boys are SO much better made from scratch.

rugelach
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rugelach
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rugelach
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rugelach
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dress up isn't just for dolls || digital decor

dots desktop background
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For as long as I can remember, I have always been a huge fan of playing dress up. As a child, there was always something indubitably magical about wearing my mother's much-too-large heels and strutting around my house like I was the queen of England. Or wearing my father's tweed sports jackets and shouting into bananas pretending I was a she-wolf of Wall Street.

Since those years spent in my parent's walk-in closet, I have come to learn that dressing up doesn't have to be all about the make believe and fantasy. It can be a more simple shift away from the ordinary. Wearing heels instead of sneakers to work, buying a new duvet cover with a loud print or even changing the background on your computer (hint, hint, wink, wink!), dressing up isn't just for the kids and mentally unstable anymore.

So in the spirit of mixing up the ordinary, I finally said goodbye to that awful, soul-sucking blue background that comes standard on all Macs. I had trouble finding / deciding on a good background, so I ended up just making one. And now I want to share it! See the photo caption above for links to download my DOTS wallpaper!

blog birthday || year zero

fall
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Hey. I just wrote this. And this is crazy. But here’s my blog. So follow me maybe?

That's right folks, it's finally here! The 4,567,234,456,324 blog to hit the interwebs! After months of hard twerking and dedication I am ready to introduce my cyber self to the world. So please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all time and enjoy this ride with me :)

Oh and please excuse my piteous attempt at self promotion via the lyrical goddess and music legend Carly Rae Jepson…. may homosexual, shirtless, car washing, teenage boys continue to call on her. maybe?