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The First time I made a cake it was a disaster. Barely working ovens, lead to a burnt cake, that somehow resulted into a frosting with a side of CAKE.  Instead of CAKE with some frosting. At the time, I didn’t have a domestic bone in my body, so of course I used a pre-made Boxed mix and pre-made frosting because why not? After the cake didn’t come out as expected,  I even avoided making all birthday cakes for a LONG time because I was so embarrassed from my first offensive. I was certain I couldn’t bake. Fast forward 10 years later, and my kids are finally begging for cakes on their birthdays, so I accepted their challenge, faced my fear of cake baking and got to it!

It was Asher’s 8th birthday, he requested a vanilla cake, with blue frosting, and berries on top! So we made cake, with blue frosting and berries on top. And it was heavenly.

Happy Cooking Friends,

x Nicole


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Gluten free Vanilla bean Cake, with Blueberry Cream frosting


2 ½ cup bob’s red mill gf flour (1 to 1 blue bag mix)
¾ cups organic sugar
1 cup vegan organic earth balance butter blend
½ cup organic coconut milk
4 large organic eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 organic vanilla beans
2 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt


Note: You’ll want all your ingredients room temp.

  1. Measure out all the ingredients and set them in front of you. You’ll need 1 medium to large bowl for the dry ingredients, and your mixing bowl that attaches to your free standing mixer. Sift all the dry ingredients into the medium bowl, set aside.

  2. Cream your vegan butter and sugar on low speed in your freestanding mixer for about 1-4 min, or until it resembles a slight mayo texture. While that is going, crack your eggs into a small bowl. Then stop your mix press down all the sides of your cream and the bottom of the bowl ensuring everything is mixed well. Start the mixer on low and while it's going add in one egg, at a time. Stop mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

  3. Slice your vanilla bean pods lengthwise,and scrape out the beans with your knife add them to the mixer. Then start the mix again, add in vanilla, coconut milk. Keep the speed low to ensure you don’t over mix.

  4. While the mixture is going, add your dry ingredients in 3 sections. If need be, stop in between and scrape down the sides again. This just gets everything mixed together without the dough lumping.

  5. Once batter is made, divide it into your prepared cake pans. TIP: spray with nonstick spray, and cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-35 min until a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer.
  7. To cool, place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  8. Ice and decorate your cake.

Blueberry Icing:


8 oz Vegan Almond Cream Cheese (kite hill is the brand I used)
4 oz organic Coconut milk (cream only, you’ll need to refrigerate for 12 hours beforehand)
1 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
1-2 tablespoons organic blue food coloring
1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Directions: NOTE: All ingredients must be cold before starting. You will need free standing mixer with whisk attachment. Also, you can freeze your metal bowl beforehand, this really helps the process.

To make, pop all your wet ingredients(except food dye) in your free standing mixer with whisk attachment, on medium speed whisk until light and fluffy about 1 min. Add in your sifted sugar and 1tbsp of food coloring,(if want darker add 1 more tbsp). Whisk again until smooth and creamy. If its not coming together, add more sifted sugar one tbsp at a time, with an addition of 1 tbsp coconut milk.

Frost the cooled cake and enjoy!


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Hello Friends,

A few months ago, Fawn Deviney graciously invited me into her home to photograph her. We had the most effortless conversation about life, artistry, and her passion for helping Artists seeing their own potential.

When I arrived she greeted me with a kind smile and big hug. Duce her english bulldog soon followed suit, stealing the show with his effortless charm. He followed her like a young pup following his mother. Aromas of fresh cut grass, candles and coffee filled the air with warmth and coziness. Fawn lead me into the house, making our way to the kitchen where we began our conversation. She offered me a warm cup of coffee with coconut cream, as we drank our coffee we started to chat about her story.

Fawn shared about her photography journey over the past 8 years which has shifted and changed into what it is today. A budding business with hope and dreams, encouraging others to do the same. She went into detail sharing how she stripped layers of old notions, which helped find her truth with a love and passion for being an Artist. When she spoke, her love of others and finding a way to help them see their potential shined through. She expressed “Encouraging Artist’s to Value their work, it’s one of my misson’s right now”. She used to think the only way to be successful was through a traditional degree.(I want to underscore, she in fact has a degree in Social Work ). Breaking free from social norms, it seemed she found her soul pulling her toward Art and Photography. Realizing “SHE IS GOOD enough to be an ARTIST, and IT IS REAL WORK. Starving artist shouldn’t be a thing, when you believe in your WORK and WORTH people will follow suit.” - FD

Fawn is nothing short of an old soul with elegant poise and passion for her work and others. She is one of those Women that leads through grace, gumption, poise, and initelect. Which is something we all should be taking notes to learn from. The thing I was most impressed with Fawn, is her love for other people, and how grateful for every moment in her career BIG and SMALL.

Fawn Deviney, is an Artist, Photographer, Stylist, and now Gallery Owner. She lives and resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Below are photographs of our time together, enjoy!


*“Part of me is still has a childlike wonder as an Artist”. “It’s my Mission right now to encourage Artists to value their work”. “SHE IS GOOD enough to be an ARTIST, and IT IS REAL WORK. Starving artist shouldn’t be a thing, when you believe in your WORK and WORTH people will follow suit.” - FD

A few of Fawns favorite things:

Mastering the art of French Cooking -Julia Child GEM WATER : Lacy Phillips Free and Native Daily rituals of warm Coffee, writing and reading.

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green smoothie recipe

Healing your gut || 

Hi Friends, 

These last few years I’ve been on this rollercoaster journey to heal my body from its “autoimmune attacking nonsense”. No longer will I use the terms, “My body is attaching itself”, as this just gives it too much power. Instead I’ve chosen to change my language to “Your body has the power to heal itself”. Honestly, it wasn’t until these last few months that I actually believed it, in my heart, mind, and soul. It also wasn’t until I adopted that mantra I started to see real results, now I’m in the process of fine-tuning my health for good.

Currently I’m reading “ The plant paradox by Dr. Stephan Gundry. In this book he talks about how the good foods aren’t really good” and the real medicine to heal autoimmune disorders (and desires) some forms of cancer, dementia, are through a different approach. Its not just about throwing pills at your system, but going to the root, healing your gut! Your gut has the power. He also educates you about lectin's and how they affect your body, and if you choose to eat them, how to prepare them differently to easily digest. It’s pretty mind blowing! (Well at least a Nerd like me thinks so).

When it comes to the diet part of the book now it’s a pretty “extreme” regimen. For myself I was at the point where I was doing most of it. For others if you are on more of a traditional diet, but looking for answers on how to improve your health, it’s really worth it to give it a shot. I cut my inflammation in half the first 3 days I started. As of 3 weeks now I have been NAISD and Allergy medicine free. (I was on Allegra D and taking over the counter pain meds for my extreme periods). And if you know me, I wasn’t really functioning without them either. Instead I switched to supplements like turmeric + stinging nettle for allergies and inflammation. Which aren’t putting holes in my gut like those NAISDS. Did you know that just taking one just one over the counter pain pill is like swallowing a grenade, and then it explodes and puts tiny holes in the walls and lining of your stomach! Crazy, so instead of fixing your pain you are actually making it worse.  (Same goes for antibiotics, that’s a blog post for another day)

For the first time I feel like its working. It hasn’t been easy, but I have this strength inside that tells me to keep going, it’s all worth it. See, the best part is you just are you. Do what you have to do to be the best version of yourself. For me right now, it’s trying new weird, Zen things to get my body + mind to connect to each other to feel good. That might be different for you. It’s about works for your body, and you are the only one steering that ship. With brainpower + food who knew that combination could actually work? (AND IT DOES)! I’m excited about the new gumption I have been feeling, and I hope you find yours too.

Thanks for listening. Below is a recipe for Green Smoothie from “The Plant Paradox”, by Dr. Steven Gundry, MD.

Cheers!   - Nicole

Green Smoothie recipe | Cleansing | detox


1 cup chopped romaine lettuce

½ cup baby spinach

1 mint spring – with stem

½ avocado

4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon

3-6 drops stevia extract

¼ cup ice cubes

1 cup filtered or tap water

TIP: add spoonful of moonjuice probiotics for extra kick, or vital reds to the smoothie.


Place all of the ingredients into a high powered blender( if you have a Vitamix thumbs up, a magic bullet should work too). Blend on high until smooth and fluffy. If its thick add 1 tablespoon of water blend and repeat until thinner.

You can store for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Green Smoothie Recipe


Hey you guys! Happy New Year! It's great to be back. May I introduce my dear friend and all time business gal Malorie.  

Malorie Maeva, is something special my friends. I was fortunate enough to have met her last year while assisting the AMAZING Kym Ventola with a wedding she was photographing. Instantly I thought wow this girl is the Brains behind Hoot and Holler / and Noir Floral? She is one talented lady, and been killing it in the floral industry for sometime now. I had been following her for some time on instagram and couldn’t help but instantly be inspired by her floral designs, esthetic and boldness that she was putting out into the universe!

I was honored when she let me photograph her doing her thing, designing and crafting floral arrangements. Here is a peek inside what she does and our time together, enjoy friends!




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Arizona Florist : Malori Maeva


A few years ago I started a personal project called home life. I was taking an advanced photo class at Coastal Carolina University and we had to pick a project for the semester. The subject had to be the same subject for the whole semester, with the narrative story in mind, one image connecting to the next. I remember resisting choosing something, I remember finding it difficult to choose a project for fear I would “mess up”.

My professor suggested that I photograph what was in front of me. Hinting at the idea of photographing my children. I hesitated, in efforts maybe to avoid the discomfort of sharing my personal life. I think I was trying to photograph landscape, old buildings or something. (You know the safe subjects) The work I was producing was mediocre. I knew if I wanted to grow I would have to start ripping of some Band-Aids and stop compartmentalizing my work life and personal life. I knew that if I just surrendered to blending them together I could get to where I wanted to go, and produce the art I was destined to produce.

So I just started, one foot in front of the other kind of thing. My first Images weren’t horrible, but they looked and felt like everyone’s candid images of their children. My work felt so literal, boring even, I knew I had to find my inner Sally Mann, but how on earth was I going to get there?

Did it just happen? No. Was there a secret sauce, formula or light bulb? No. I just took a lot of images, and let me tell you I burned threw loads of film, and digital files. Mostly film.

 Each week we had to bring our images to our professor and have a one on one critique. Let me tell you there were moments he would look at my work, and I would look at him and hope to Jesus he wouldn’t rip it apart. It was when he was silent it scared me the most. I would anxiously wait, while he looked over the images up and down, the he would say: “You have something here”, or “dig deeper”. He wanted me to come up with the answer, to figure those next steps out. Not just hand them to me, which that I am thankful for.

What I learned from the critique is to keep going, to make it better, and that it doesn’t just ‘happen’ to you have to choose the direction you want to go into. That I am going to fail a lot, and that is OKAY!

So here I am 3 years later, more images, more life and this personal project took on a whole new meaning. 

Enjoy friends, until next time




Easy dairy-free coconut vanilla ice cream recipe

I was about 13 and my sister was 11. It was august in phoenix, which meant it was 120 degrees out. My sister and I were really not used to this, we grew up in upstate NY. So in the summer you were outside. It was a foreign concept to us that summers consisted of TV, boredom, and getting really creative inside. So we decided to cook. The dream team, or maybe trouble making team.

My cooking experience included: making one batch of oatmeal cookies, (with my mother) making a batch of oatmeal cookies alone, and causing the oven to catch fire, and maybe making lots of pots of coffee. My parents believed in child labor.

I guess my parents thought we were old enough to cook without supervision, and clearly they had put me in charge of my sister yet again. We were sick of watching the tv and got our butts in the kitchen. We walked around, looking at what we had in the cubboards. Caroline found, the bisquick mix, (for those of you who don’t know this is a premade flour mix, which can be used for an assortment of baking).  Then I found peaches. Together we thought up peaches with sugar, cooked, over a biscuit. I guess we liked to use fancy words back then to describe our food.

I coated the peaches with sugar. Lots of sugar! The non–organic cane sugar full of GMO goodness. I put them in the toaster oven. She mixed up the biscuits and we popped them in the oven. We were cleaning up and we smelled something funny, then we saw something funny. Caroline Screams “ the toaster oven is on FIRE! I turned around, oh my GOD the toaster oven IS On FIRE! Then we looked at each other and simultaneously yelled “DAD come quick. Clearly we had no idea what we were doing. He put out the fire. We were shocked he didn’t get upset.

I think the peaches burned. Obviously they burned. We plated the biscuits grabbed the peaches and dolloped a huge pile of whip cream on top. SUCCESS!

My sister and I eagerly served our Dad and much to our surprise he ate it. But what followed was an honest critique;" its good, but you can do better" He told us. Man, have those words stuck with me until this day.

That memory always comes to me from time to time. It reminds me where I started. I started in the kitchen with my sister, side by side. See we used to fight a lot, maybe because we both were bit bossy and wanted things “our” way. Maybe its because we didn’t have the tools we do now. The point is cooking together, we always found neutral ground, and if we didn’t find a common space we would have probably killed each other many times over in the kitchen. So we learned how to do this mutual dance, a good one at that.

There is just something magical about cooking. Don’t you think? My hope is to inspire you out there to make some magic in the kitchen to. To mess up learn from it, and keep going! 

I am sad to say I wont give you that recipe for our burnt peaches. Instead I will give you a dairy-free vanilla ice cream recipe. Now the thing is its not vegan because there are eggs in it. Enjoy friends. Thanks for stopping by.

- Nicole


Coconut Vanilla Ice cream: makes 1 pint

2 ½ cans full fat coconut milk

½ cup of raw sugar, cane or turbine works fine

1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste

3 whole eggs and 3 egg whites lightly whisked


1.     Place a large pot, or Dutch oven over the stove on medium heat. Add in the coconut milk, but be sure to add the two cans, then with the last can only take the fat of the coconut milk. Add in your sugar and vanilla and whisk. Heat until fully combined and the grains of sugar are gone.

2.     In a heatproof bowl, such as metal or glass, crack your eggs and lightly whisk. Add in your coconut mixture. Then stir and combine. Taste to see if you need to add more sugar or vanilla. Don’t go over board though. You are looking for a creamy, yet subtle vanilla taste.

3.     Then place in your ice cream machine and follow directions. Its key not to over churn. Once finished place in a baking tin, or ice cream storage bin lined with parchment paper.

4.     Serve with Figs and honey, chocolate chips or waffle cones! Enjoy! 


I am totally obsessed with limes at the moment. Maybe it has something to do with their green color, and my gravitation towards it since everything is mostly brown here in Arizona. Since I had so many limes left over from my last project I was inspired not only to make good use of them, but there is something about the fact that it is still 100 degrees out side, which calls for a nice cold margarita. Right?

When I usually make my margaritas, I use Patron, and their Patron Orange Liquor. But I wanted to mix it up this time and try something new. This time I tried out OLMECA AlTOS 100% Agave Plata Tequila and it’s rated at 96 points. Let me tell you it’s amazing, so smooth! You have to try it out.  As well as Cointreau instead of the patron, the outcome is a refreshing heavenly cocktail that you keep coming back for more.


For the recipe: this yields 2 margaritas ( double if making more, cut in half if making one at a time) 

You will need : 

  • 1 cocktail shaker
  • 2 cups of ice, 2 lowball glasses , (mason jars work wonders) 
  • 2 jalapeno's
  • 4 0z 100% clear Agave Tequila ( OLMECA ALTOS is what i would suggest!)
  • 1.5 oz Cointreau
  • 1-2 limes
  • Lime juice sqeezer
  • knife


Slice the limes in half set aside. Slice the jalapeños into round quarters, its up to you how spicy you want your margarita, so add as many as you'd to your cocktail shaker. Then squeeze in 1 half of the lime juice, add in about 1 /2 cup of ice, and all of the tequila and cointreau. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE! Place the rest of ice into the two glasses and pour the margarita over the ice and drink immediately. ENJOY! 

NoteIts up to you how much lime, or jalapeño you want your margarita to taste like, so your free to get creative and mix it up just the way you like!! 







this Recipe was adapted from the lovley Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margarita :