Even at 4:30AM, it was the perfect fall day. I could tell. A few birds were already chirping which meant the day was going to be nice. That’s how I can always tell, those little birds outside our master window. I sighed a big sigh of relief. Homes are always prettier when the sun is out, don’t you agree?
I rolled over and looked at the clock again. Still before 5 AM. Thoughts kept me up in and out of dreams most of the night. What was I doing? What makes me think my home is nice enough to have an actual real designer spend most of his day off photographing? What if they got here and had to pretend they liked it only to turn around and get in their car and laugh the whole way home?
Stop. It’s not going to go down like that. They’ve seen pictures. They choose us. They want to come see our little Cape Cod.
I had the backing of Carlisle, as well. See, this is how it all started. We hooked up with the most magical floor company down at the Merchandise Mart in the city. The floors were…..heavenly. It took us less than an hour to make our decision and get the order going. Oh white oak, I couldn’t wait to have you. As they arrived and we started to document their progress in our home (acclimating, installing, etc) the PR for Carlisle caught wind and reached out to see if they could pitch us to some top tier design magazines to be photographed and, of course, help promote their wonderful product.
Of course, I said without hesitance. But oh the pressure!
The floors continued to be installed and the kitchen came together and the art was hung on the walls. It was a real addition! Photographs were sent to Carlisle to help promote the project and then, well, we simply waited.
No bites for awhile.
Until we had one. A very big exciting one! Apartment Therapy was interested and they wanted to have a call to talk about the project and see if they thought we’d be a good fit. I chatted away with the charming Arthur late one night (well, post bed time for the kids which, let’s be honest, is late for me) and it went great and within 48 hours he had approval from his editor that it was a go. Yippee!
The anticipation leading up to it was pretty calm in my book. My home was generally clean and organized so I wasn’t too worried about it all until that night before. The tossing and turning confirmed one thing for me that generally doesn’t happen: I was nervous.
So, I hopped out of bed and did what I normally do whenever I needed to work something out. I fired up my oven and got out my baking supplies and went to work.
Well, not too much work. We don’t want a messy kitchen before a shoot.
Yet there was something oh so comforting about preparing brunch that early morning. I went from ‘omg are they going to like my home’ to ‘I’ve totally got this.’ I mentally shifted from they were out to judge my home to I was going to chill and have brunch with these people. Entertaining, as one kind friend noted on Instagram, was where I shine.
So sticky buns were rolled and baking awhile in the oven and brown sugar and chili pepper was smeared on top of bacon and berries were washed and the champagne was chilled. I looked around and felt at peace.
And then I heard the rumblings of the boys. OMG. The boys. Please be good please be good please be good. We already had the talks: ‘you will have to wear jeans’ ‘you can not wrestle’ ‘don’t touch each other’ ‘you will have to wear a shirt’ ‘say hello when they arrive instead of staring blankly ahead’ ‘make eye contact’ ‘don’t touch each other, ever’ ‘smile like you are a nice, normal, happy child. Please.’
As they barreled down the stairs (honestly, how much do they weigh?) and practically fell into the great room where I greeted them with good morning hugs at their level like always and prompted with an over the top cheerful tone ‘remember what today is?’
‘Yes mom, today is the day we have to wear whatever you say for thirty minutes.’
Wonderful! The eldest remembered and was on-board which meant the littlest was as well. Fantastic. Feeding them went smoothly and somehow they got dressed, brushed teeth, and even did each others hair drama free. The husband woke up relatively accepting of it all and suddenly a car pulled up.
Naturally, my boys flocked to the front bay window in the living room, practically smushing their faces against it. ‘MOOOOOOOM! Your photography people are here!!!!!!!’
Yes they were. I took a deep breath, opened the bright red door and welcomed them in with big smiles and lightly cinnamon scented bacon air.
And you know what? Right at that moment, I knew all would be okay. In fact it went better than okay. You know how you see those home tours and think, ‘is everything really that perfect and nice and happy?’ Well, for us, for that one morning – those few hours, yes. Yes it actually was.
And we got to eat sticky buns.
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar in your mixer. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
- Lightly flour a surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right and brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1-2 inches wide. Place each piece in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, and then invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.