Crust and Crumbs {books, photo tips, and sugar}

Wow. It’s been too long since I did one of these posts! Life has been too hectic, and blog life has been even crazier.

Why is it that the month of May is now rivaling December in it’s insane-ness? Three field trips, two minimum days, and career week all in one month. #itstoomuch

Ready to catch up on my crust and crumbs of life?

1. One of the reasons behind the crazy is this girl:


Her name is Clancy and she’s my mother-in-law’s dog. My father-in-law had major spinal surgery at the end of April, here in Sacramento. They live about an hour and half from here, so Clancy is living with us while he’s in rehab. (He’s doing well, is making great strides in rehab, and is hoping to go home in two weeks!)

In the meantime, we gave Clancy our old loveseat, and as long as Mel sleeps downstairs in the guest room at night, all stays calm. Clancy isn’t allowed upstairs because she wants to eat Callie.

2. Did you know that I’m selling ad space on my blog now? Yes, I am! Over there on the sidebar. Check out my sponsor page for all the details and packages. I’d love to share my space with you!

3. Did you see the Copycat Starbucks Petite Vanilla Scones I posted yesterday? I am totally craving one.

copycat-petite-vanilla-scones (3 of 5)w

I think I want to slather one with Oreo Peanut Butter. Or Maple Walnut Butter.

4. Last week, my new friend Cathy over at Lemon Tree Dwelling, posted these Mini BBQ Chicken Pizzas. I am in love with them, and having just tried BBQ Chicken pizza a few weeks ago, I’m also drooling.

BBQ Chicken Mini Pizzas 1

5. Time for an Instagram dump! Do you follow me on Instagram?

instagram may 19

Jordan and I went to Kohls. We both needed new tennis shoes. She discovered that she fits in a size 5 1/2 woman’s stiletto. She’s 8. EIGHT. Her friends all wear 12’s and 1’s still. #shesgotmyfeet #poorthing

I, on the other hand, tried on 12 pairs of running shoes and the only ones that fit glow in the dark.

When you order “3 ounce” bottles of sprinkles, just an FYI. That’s a lot of sprinkles. One of those bottles is 3 ounces. I now have enough red and blue sprinkles for the next four 4th of Julys.

The same day I realized my 8 year old can wear woman’s shoes, she lost her 13th tooth. #OMG

6. This week is career week for the second graders. Somehow, Jordan talked me into speaking. Then I come to learn it’s not for just her class – it’s for ALL the second graders. 110 of them. #eek #scared

Part of my presentation is a “day in the life of” where I tell about how I create a post from start to finish, and relate it to the 2nd grade. Photography is the step that correlates to “art” in second grade. After I took this photo, I realized some of you might find it helpful.


{Pardon my messy hair. It was Sunday, and I wasn’t leaving the house. What’s the point?}

That’s how I set up ALL my photo shoots. I call that window the “money window” as in, I started making money when we moved into this house and I started using that window for my photo shoots.

My base varies. What’s shown there is a foam core board covered in wood plank paper I found in the teaching section at Joann’s (see the actual shots here). I also use a piece of wainscoting that I had cut in half at Lowe’s, or a foam core covered in dark wood shelf paper (shown here).

I use a foam core board for my backdrop, and half a foam core covered in aluminum foil for my reflector. I also use a small stool, and I’ve gotten very good at balancing on the stool on my tippy toes. It’s good for the calves.

7. Have you check out the BEST chocolate cupcake recipe?

best-chocolate-cupcakes (7 of 9)

The frosting tastes like melted fudge. Seriously.

8. My friend Karyn posted these Bowling Party Cake Pops last week and I think they are the best and most cutest cake pops I’ve ever seen!

PS Bowling Party (35)

9. Who’s going to BlogHer Food? I am, I am! Let’s meet up!

10. My favorite books lately:

books may

I’ve read lots more, but those were all really, really good. And, the best part? All of them, except for the Jodi Picoult one, were from my city library’s e-library. Did you know they have that? Go to your library website, and somewhere it should have a link to the e-library. You login with your regular login info and can check out books straight to your kindle or e-reader! I wish I could afford to buy all the books I read…but then I wouldn’t have money for the important things. Like Oreos and avocados.

Happy Monday everyone! See you tomorrow with another to-die-for cupcake!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. love the behind the scenes look 🙂

  2. YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS!!!! My favorite post!!!!!!!!!
    #4 If you move here, you could live between Cathy and I and be about 5 minutes from BOTH OF US!
    #6 You are going to rock their little socks off. Also I super dig behind the scenes shots. 🙂
    #10 I’m always so jealous of your reading. As if there was anything preventing me from reading than my own laziness, lol! I read Lone Wolf, it was good. Although I have recently banned myself from Jodi Piccoult books for the sake of my sanity 🙂

    • Oh god, I know. I end up sobbing into the bathwater. Or on the stairmaster…in the middle of the gym. Those are the times I dedicate to reading during the day! 🙂

  3. Dorothy!! Thanks so much for sharing my mini pizzas! AND I second what Lisa said in #4! AND good luck with your career week presentation…..are you kidding me!?….they’re going to love you 🙂

  4. I so feel your pain with the shoes, I am the exact same way. I just obsess about handbags now, because shoes cause me too much frustration 🙂 My daughter is nine and wear a 5 too:) LOVED the book Defending Jacob! Great round up!

  5. You will do great with those 2nd graders, I know it!
    I use to read All The Time and now it’s so hard to find time to sit down with a good book. I miss it 🙁
    How did I not see those cupcakes??? Oh yeah, I was moving 😉 Off to check them out now!

    • I can imagine! When Jordan was little I didn’t read much. Once she got to about 2? I think? I started reading at night in the bathtub. It’s still my dedicated reading time every day!

  6. I very rarely leave the house on Sundays. Nothing good usually comes of it.

    I love seeing behind the scene shots. I do the same tippy toe shots.

    Good luck with your speech! The kids will love you.

  7. Wow, you are a busy lady! Love the look at real life, we are all in similar boats 😉

  8. Ah! I’ve always tried to picture how you set up your shots…Now I finally get it! Alas, my kitchen does not have a counter adjacent to the window. I’ll have to set something up. But, thank you for this set up photo…Who knows maybe I will finally take a decent picture. 🙂 Have a great week!! P.S. Hope to see you soon!!

    • Thanks Ellen! At the old house, I had to move a table every. single. time. So annoying. Find a window and put a card table there. That’ll make set up easy!

  9. Great post! Thanks for the book recommendations. I am in dire need of a new read! Hey that rhymed. 🙂

  10. I love Jodi Picoult! I was hooked on her from a book club about 5 years ago. I have Storyteller in my reserve library list! “Defending Jacob” is on my list, too. It seems to be way up there. We just finished reading “Eat Cake” in my book club. How appropriate! 🙂

  11. What a lucky group if second graders!! You’re going to kill it:)

  12. Love those heels!

  13. The oreo peanut butter – can it get any better than this? I don’t think so. It’s like all my favorite worlds into one!

    And then I saw the chocolate cupcake recipe… SWOONS.

  14. It sounds as though you had a crazy busy week, but a fun one. All of my kids’ activities seemed to be smushed into the last couple of weeks, too and we’re happily running wild.

  15. I am digging that photo shoot set up! What direction does that window face? My daughter would be jealous of your daughter’s shoe size. Cassi is 19 and can still wear shoes in the children’s section! If she is lucky, she can wear a 5 depending on the shoe 🙂

  16. I love The Money Window and that pic of you and seeing your setup! I need a money window. I have one…that only works for about 2 hrs a day and it’s a scramble to make it always happen in those 2 hrs. Northern exposure, say no more.

    Fun post, Dorothy!

  17. Yayy! Love these posts.

    And I love (sarcastically) that your 8 year old has bigger feet than me. *sigh*

  18. Thanks for the book recommendations! I devour books and am always looking for good options. I love the overdrive stuff, but when I want to read a book, I usually prefer to curl up with real pages because I’m usually trying to escape from the screen 🙂

  19. The Money window is awesome! I love seeing the little behind the scens photo!
    Sounds like a crazy busy couple of weeks, hope thing settle down for you once schools out!
    Loved this post Dorothy, it was really fun!

  20. Great photo tips! Thanks!

  21. OMG – I have the same size feet as Jordan! LOL!!

    You’re gonna do awesome with the 2nd graders! I can only imagine the treats you’re gonna bring for them!!

  22. Good idea on the reflector. I should try one of those out!

  23. I have been looking for wood plank paper for a long time! I never thought of checking Joann’s. I wish I was going to BlogHer Food. I can’t wait to hear all about it! 🙂

  24. Career day for 110 second graders? Dorothy, you’re a saint! You’ll definitely be their favorite, especially if you bring in some of your baked goodies to share. What 8-year-old wouldn’t want vanilla scones or the most amazing chocolate cupcakes ever?? Good luck, although I’m sure you won’t need it! 🙂

  25. HAHAHA I bought those shoes at Kohls too. Not gonna lie- I’m starting to love them. They feel great running and the neon part is growing on me 😉

  26. I feel the pain of big feet 🙁 It’s exciting when you’re young and can wear big girl shoes, but not so exciting when you outgrow all of the fancy brands.

  27. I love that BTS photo! I’ve been looking for things to use for backdrops that aren’t scarves so that actually really helped me with how to set up my photos!

  28. Love these types of post from bloggers. Gives us a chance to see a little more behind the scenes. Thanks so much for sharing Dorothy!

  29. “All the important things, like Oreos and avocados” you crack me up! I am a huge reader too and am so grateful for e libraries. Oh, and I wish I was in that class- I would’ve loved to see how you blog from start to finish!

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  31. I love seeing other people’s photo set ups, a part of my kitchen is part-studio.. haha

  32. Love this! So, so cute!!

  33. Love this post and I REALLY love seeing how others set up photos! It is just fascinating to me!

  34. Whoa that’s paper?! It looks like real wood! I feel like I’ve been lied to! Such great tips and behind the scenes look at how you do it. I’m not at the point where I’m setting up a reflector or anything, but I’m glad it’s fairly easy to do.

    I know exactly what you mean by money window. I’m not making money, but ever since we moved into this house, the natural light I have in the kitchen made me want to blog more because of the pictures I could take!

    I’m happy to hear your father-in-law is doing good after the surgery. I’m sure that was a scary procedure. Incredibly happy for you guys!

    Love the post! Shows food isn’t the only thing in life.

    • Thank you! I love doing these posts, because there’s so much no one gets to see. 🙂 And thanks for your words about my FIL! We’re so happy he’s doing better!

  35. Love these posts:-) I wish I was going to blogher food so I could meet you!!

  36. How did I miss this post? aaaahhhggghh! Because I have been just as busy and I am so behind on blog reading. Most days I can only keep up with getting my pictures edited and posted. I can’t wait for BlogHer and to meet you!!!!!!! It will be so fun!!! Love the fun photog tips girlie! That money window is awesome!!!

  37. Love seeing your set up! I’ve been trying to think of a better way to do it and you gave me ideas – thanks! If you haven’t done career day already, I’m sure you’ll do great! I wish I was a second grader and could sit in on it 🙂

  38. I never thought about using wood plank paper. So clever. My hair always looks like a hot mess on Sunday. I don’t leave the house, so it really doesn’t matter. I bet the second grade class thinks you’re the coolest mom ever!

  39. Love the behind the scenes look! I always wonder how other people set up their photos. Thank you for posting this. I think I need some bases. I mostly just use colored paper but it ends up with lottts of grease marks… 😉

  40. Great post! Have you read Fly Away yet? I’m in a book club and we had read Fire Fly Lane a few years ago and now tomorrow night we are discussing Fly Away. I also liked Defending Jacob… and want to check out some of your other reads! Thanks for the tip on photography too!

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