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Behind the Blog: The Vault Files

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the sweet Gaby of the fashion and lifestyle blog, The Vault Files, on multiple occasions. Which means that I can personally attest to the fact that she’s kind of the best. She’s always exquisitely dressed, at the ready to offer some great blogging advice, and I feel lucky to call her a friend! With photos from Heidi Lau, we’ve gone behind the blog (and it’s oh so good!)

SMP: Tell us a little about The Vault Files!
I like to believe that The Vault Files is a peek into my life and how I live it. I have a passion for fashion, healthy leaving, fitness, decor, and all things creative, so I try to share these passions with my readers to hopefully motivate them! Whereas it’s a recipe that I love, a great online find, personal styling tips, or just my thoughts on how to live a meaningful life, I like creating a positive space that I hope is inspiring for others.

SMP: What made you decide to start a blog?
I know this is totally cliché and boring, but the answer is no other than the opportunity of having a creative outlet. I was in a position where I wasn’t going to be able to work for 18 months or so, and I had just graduated from Fashion Marketing so I thought that blogging was a great alternative to put to practice what I had just learnt, to somehow fulfill my passion for fashion, and to do something meaningful for me.

SMP: What’s one thing you’ve learnt along the way?
Since I started the blog I’ve learnt so many things! It’s been a learning experience at so many levels and that’s exactly one of the things I love most about it.

SMP: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
I don’t think I’d do anything differently as I feel like I’ve grown both as a person and as blogger in this process and I wouldn’t be the blogger I am today if it wasn’t for the experience, the ups and downs, and the mistakes. Having said that, I wish I would have started my blog on WordPress!

SMP: One piece of advice you’d give to a blogger just starting out?
On a personal note I’d say to find your own voice, and once you find it, keep it and to stay true to who you are and your values. I think it’s super important to avoid comparing yourself to what others are doing, and always be consistent, hard working, and network as much as possible. If you enjoy blogging and you believe in yourself, keep doing it even at times when you think no one is reading. The hard work will eventually pay off and you’ll grow as a person and as a blogger while doing so, so never give up!

On the technical side, I think that no matter what category your blog falls in, starting on WordPress, investing in a good camera, and learning photoshop are great pillars!

SMP: Your most embarrassing blog moment?
I honestly can’t recall one. I’m sure I’ve made a ton of mistakes, but that’s how you learn right? Now, don’t make me look back at my archives, I really don’t want to look at those early days layouts ;)

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel your blog was going to thrive?
I hope there’s more in the future for The Vault Files, but being able to land a couple of projects because of the blog has been amazing and everything you dream for. The fact that I’m here today, sharing my home and some words is pretty big for me :)

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of time?
I’m a neutrals girl at heart, so this question is an easy one: Black and/or White. For both decor and fashion, you can never go wrong with the classics.

SMP: One thing you simply can’t live with out?
Taking photos is one of my favourite things to do and it gives me tremendous pleasure and joy, so I’m going to say my camera. And because I would be lost without my computer, my MacBook Pro is just as important :)

SMP: Three things every woman should have in her closet?
One great black bag, a perfect fitting black blazer that can dress up your jeans-and-tee outfit, and a black dress you can always count on!

SMP: Your favourite online design resource?
Lately I’ve been enjoying Domaine a lot. I also like Rue Mag and of course Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy.

Photography: Heidi Lau | Blogger: The Vault Files

Mini Donut Holes + Homemade Bread from Martha Stewart + Macy’s

We are constantly inspired by Martha Stewart, whether she’s whipping up something tasty, or creating the latest and greatest for her front door. When we found out she was teaming up with Macy’s on a series of how-to videos, we couldn’t contain our excitement. We’ve asked Martha to share a few of her recipes, and she gracefully obliged.  First up in this series: mini donut holes and homemade bread, all made in a Martha Stewart Collection enameled cast iron pots, available only at Macy’s.

Yep, our mouths are watering too! So we obviously couldn’t leave out the recipes. That would just be wrong!

MARTHA STEWART’S MINI DONUT HOLES with LEMON CURD FILLING

INGREDIENTS  for the donuts
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon Curd, chilled

for the lemon curd
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large egg yolks (egg whites reserved for another use)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

DIRECTIONS for the donuts
STEP 1 | In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together yeast and milk; let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Sift together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt, then add to yeast mixture; mix on low speed until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Continue mixing on low 3 minutes more. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition and until butter is fully incorporated and dough is soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Increase speed to medium, continue mixing until dough is smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes more.

STEP 2 | Remove dough from bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

STEP 3 | Lightly flour a baking sheet; set aside. On a well-floured work surface, roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1¼-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out doughnuts. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until they’ve doubled in height and feel puffy and pillowy, about 45 minutes.

STEP 4 | Fill a large, heavy-bottomed enameled cast iron braiser with oil to a depth of 3 inches; heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, place doughnuts in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown on one side, 1 to 2 minutes; turn with a chopstick and continue frying on remaining side until golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to a wire rack set over a baking sheet until cool enough to handle.

STEP 5 | Place remaining cup of sugar in a small bowl. Toss doughnuts in sugar, one at a time, to coat evenly. Return doughnuts to paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool completely.

STEP 6 | Transfer lemon curd to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip; set aside.

STEP 7 | Poke a hole in the side of each cooled doughnut and fill with lemon curd; serve immediately.

for the lemon curd
STEP 1 | In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, zest, and egg yolks; whisk in lemon juice and salt.

STEP 2 | Add butter and place pan over medium-high. Cook, whisking constantly, until butter has melted, mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and small bubbles form around the edge of pan, about 5 minutes (do not boil).

STEP 3 | Remove pan from heat while continuing to whisk. Pour curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass bowl. Press plastic wrap against the surface of curd and refrigerate until cool. Cook’s Note:  To store lemon curd, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 2 weeks.

MARTHA STEWART’S HOMEMADE BREAD

INGREDIENTS 
3 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon instant or active-dry yeast
1 3/4 cups 1/2-inch cubes aged Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cups pitted 1/4-inch-thick slices green Spanish olives
1 1/2 cups cool water (55 to 65 degrees), plus more as needed

DIRECTIONS 
STEP 1 | In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and yeast; stir in cheese and olives. Add water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until a wet, sticky dough forms, about 30 seconds, adding additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and surface becomes dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

STEP 2 | Generously flour work surface; scrape dough onto work surface. Lightly flour hands, a bowl scraper, or a spatula and lift edges of dough toward the center. Nudge and tuck edges of dough to make round.

STEP 3 | Place a piece of parchment paper on work surface and generously dust with flour. Gently place dough on parchment, seam-side down. If dough is tacky, lightly dust top with flour. Cover dough loosely with wax paper and two clean kitchen towels. Let down stand in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

STEP 4 | Gently poke dough with your finger; dough should hold the impression. If it springs back, let rise 15 minutes more.

STEP 5 | Ten minutes before dough has finished rising, preheat oven to 475 degrees on a conventional oven (450 degrees on a convection oven) with a rack in the lower third. Place a covered 3 1/2-quart cast-iron or enameled cast iron pot (with plastic handle removed and screw hole plugged with aluminum foil) in center of rack.

STEP 6 | Using pot holders, carefully remove preheated enameled cast iron pot from oven and uncover. Uncover bread and loosen bottom with a large spatula. With the aid of the parchment paper, invert bread into preheated enameled cast iron pot so that it is seam-side up. Cover enameled cast iron pot and transfer to oven; bake for 25 minutes.

MACY’S PRODUCTS USED: 1. Martha Stewart Collection Pot Holder | 2. Martha Stewart Collection What’s Cooking Oven Mitt | 3. Martha Stewart Collection Bamboo Paddle Cutting Board | 4. Martha Stewart Collection Food Storage Canister, Vintage | 5. Martha Stewart Collection Measuring Spoons | 6. Martha Stewart Collection Mixing Bowls, Set of 5 Ceramic | 7. Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron Pots | 8. Martha Stewart Collection Serveware, Scalloped Cake Stand and Dome | 9. Martha Stewart Collection Set of 3 Silicone Beachwood Utensils



Sponsored-Post  

Modern Safari Nursery

Baby fever y’all! It’s real. And it hits when you least expect it! Though I’m tooootally not in baby zone quite yet, it doesn’t stop me from oogling tiny toes and pinning nurseries left right and center. And at the top of said nursery pin board? This little dude’s modern meets safari digs. Designed by Barette Widell and photographed by Renee Dickerson, there’s more where this came from right here! 


From Barette at Widell Designs… When we found out we were having a baby the very first thing I thought about was how I was going to decorate the nursery. I couldn’t wait to find out the sex and in fact started buying things for a baby girl since I was convinced that’s what we were having. When we found our we were having a boy not only did we have a name picked out, but we also had all this baby girl stuff to return! I decided that I still wanted to go with the same theme which was a “modern” safari theme. I wanted to keep the colors calm and relaxing whether a boy or girl. I decided to use an old vintage safari themed Gucci scarf that was my moms as the inspiration for the room and pulled shades of blues, grey’s, and taupe from it. I also wanted to mix patterns to make sure it wasn’t all to matchy matchy and fun animal elements have a fun playful feel to the modern room.

Photography: Renee Dickerson | Blue Rug, Elephant Lamp, Pillows, Baskets, Toys, + Books: Homegoods | Changing Table Cover, Hanging Lamp, + Bedding: Olio Studio | Crib: Maclaren + Netto Collection | Custom Blanket: Pottery Barn Kids | Dresser, Day Bed, + Rocking Chair: West Elm | Elephant Hamper: The Classy Home | Hand-Woven Giraffe: Cabo, Mexico | Nursery Decor + Design: Barette Widell | Pictures: The Animal Print Shop | Vintage Safari Art: Vintage Gucci Silk Scarf | Woven Ottoman: Target