If you’ve been a loyal reader for awhile, you may remember my much-hyped but not very long-lasting blog, Harmonized Living. In case you’re unfamiliar, I posted a home decor + cooking “daring pairing” each day- so a rustic soup was matched with a rustic cabin, Moroccan food was matched with a Moroccan pouf, etc…get it?

Though the blog is on a serious {and perhaps permanent} hiatus, I thought I’d dig up the old posts and put them up here!

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To celebrate the dawn of spring and the recent National Cherry Blossom Festival, today’s daring pairing features Cherry Blossoms.

[photo credit: windy_sydney]

Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12

I’m sitting with my sister on the couch and she is begging me to write a life update on my blog- which is funny, because she knows everything that goes on in my life!

I was about to type “The past few weeks have been a whirlwind” but I realized 1) I overuse the expression “whirlwind” and 2) when is my life not a whirlwind?! Good thing I like it hectic.

  • Smashingly successful open house for our coworking space (officially The Raleigh Forum); tons of people came out to explore the space, mingle, and enjoy our refreshments
  • Endless promotions for the space
  • Hired an Office Assistant (that’s right, we have an employee! So cool)
  • Spoke with my sister about The Raleigh Forum at a Ladies NC networking event
  • Assigned to several new projects at my recruiting job
  • Put the almost-final touches on my apartment- pictures coming soon! Let’s just say I’m very happy
  • Did a Warrior Dash-esque run through Umstead Park
  • Made

Well, I am (happily) overwhelmed after a very fruitful day wandering the streets of downtown Raleigh. So overwhelmed, in fact, that I have to write not one, not two, but three blog entries today in order to get everything down in writing.

My adventure started at 2:30pm when I took the R-Line bus to Morning Times (see entry below). I then decided to walk home and managed to find out about a million cool places. I felt like a stranger in the city, even though I’m from the next city over and I lived here all summer. And I mean stranger in the best way possible. I felt enlightened and fascinated to discover so much about the thriving downtown area.

For example, who knew there were five named districts? There is Glenwood South, Capital District, Warehouse District, Fayetteville Street District, and Moore Square District.

Follow me on my walk:

  • Porch Rockin’: lunchtime meal delivery of sandwiches and sides to busy professionals. Veryyy similar to my business idea; emailed the founder about collaborating
  • Design Box: a “workplace, gallery, and design shop.” In a funky warehouse-like building full of unique art and bright colors. Might be a possibility for part-time office space for me, my sister, and a few of my co-workers. Must follow up with staff
  • The Roast Grill: Their limited hours could mean it’s a possibility for a commercial kitchen rental
  • My future apartment building *fingers crossed*: I dropped by and spoke to several residents. They said it was a great community and they love their apartments. They mentioned the hassle of no laundry in the apartments and no central air, but as a current resident of DC, I reassured them I could handle those factors! Besides, I have my sister’s laundry room to use :)
  • The Cupcake Shoppe: I know I said I was over cupcakes, but it might be worth checking out!
  • Dress: an adorable consignment store on Glenwood, where everything is organized by color (my kind of place!)
  • Tutti Frutti: a forthcoming frozen yogurt place. Raleigh may be a little behind on the fro-yo trend, but it’s just in time for summer!
  • Zaky: an express
  • I was chatting with a co-worker recently about how we both wanted to start businesses with our sisters.

    “Sister entrepreneurship” is all the rage right now: Katherine and Sophie, the “sister-owners” of Georgetown Cupcake now have their own TV show, called DC Cupcakes. The Kardashian sisters co-own Dash, a line of clothing stores. Apparently the rollable footwear line FootzyRolls was started by sisters Sarah and Jenifer.

    Who better to start a company with than your sister? In the case of me and my sister, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we push each other in a positive way, we’re more productive when we can bounce ideas off each other..and we have an absolute blast together.

    We’ve talked about a promotion company, which would leverage both our shared strengths and our unique skill sets. For example, we are both very capable in terms of promoting, but I am more experienced with social media, while she is great at interpersonal communication.

    Sure, there are risks involved. There have been many times that my sister has helped me out financially or I’ve fronted money for our phone bill. Having both of our assets wrapped up in the same company is more financially risky. Most importantly, there is always the possibility that a work issue will affect personal relationships.

    Should we decide to move forward with our venture idea, I’d insist on a “sister contract.” This document would essentially say that, if push came to shove, our relationship would take precedence over our business. Also, it sounds incredibly silly, but we take pinky promises very seriously. They basically constitute a sisterhood pact; they are never

    And the beginning of even better food trends.

    I love researching food trends and trying to ascertain what makes something become a trend, rather than just a fleeting one-hit wonder in the culinary world.

    Mason Jar Meals: GW Bites offers Meals in a Jar, which contain the pre-portioned ingredients for specific recipes. There is another kind of Meal in a Jar, which entails serving prepared meals in Mason jars. Check it out on thekitchn.com.

    Bento Boxes: A bento box is a “compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box.” Native to Japan, this form of meal packing has become trendy and hip in the United States. In fact, it is viewed as an art form and source of pride by many! Check it out on lunchinabox.net and justbento.com.

    photo credit: themeatloafbakery.com

    Meatloaf Cupcakes/Muffins: A fresh spin on sweet cupcakes, these bite-sized creations are savory, unique, and nutritionally balanced. Check it out on The Meatloaf Bakery, buy Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatloaf Muffins, or make your own with a recipe from For the Love of Cooking.

    Salted Caramel: Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks. Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies from Kitchenist.com. Maple-Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce from Epicurious.com

    Love trend-following too? Check out Springwise, Trendspotting, & Design Sponge Online, and 2011′s Hottest Food Trends.

    I’m supposed to be doing work with a friend. She’s diligently typing away on her class assignment while I diligently blog :)

    So far this evening, we have:

    • Made home-made pizza
    • Roasted red, orange, and yellow peppers
    • Sipped wine
    • Drank vanilla caramel truffle tea
    • Baked carrot spice cupcakes
    • Finished up Kiva Days materials for tomorrow
    • Laughed a lot
    • Facebook stalked
    • Looked at cute babies
    • Applied to a babysitting job
    • Been silly and weird
    • Avoided homework

    Perhaps not the most productive evening, but definitely full of fun!

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    +Cristina Roman