2016 –That’s a Wrap Photo

By Libbie Summers

At the end of most creative shoots, the crew takes a “wrap photo”. A little something to remember the work family you just know you’ll always keep in contact with, but in reality you don’t. Life goes on and you move on to other projects, lives, cities and passions. As a way of making these memories stick a little more, I started posing the crew for more of a basement band type of photo (obvious in the grid which ones those are). Somehow it brought us closer, leaving us with a smile and one last thing to create together. A portrait of ourselves…playing ourselves…pretending we are someone else.

Thank you to all the wonderful people I was honored to spend my working time with this year. In the end, I’m always reminded that it’s never about the product we are selling, it’s always about the people.

Behind the Scenes, Wrap Photos, Libbie Summers, Art Direction, Crew Photos

Cinco de Blizzard

By Libbie Summers
Featuring: Nancy Wall Hopkins, Con Poulos, Sarah Cave, Danielle Draudt and Pati Jinich

 
The stunner of a food centric May issue of Better Homes and Gardens is on the stands and just in time to make the DElish Pork Carnitas and Grilled Pineapple Margaritas (with jalapeno thank you) from Pati Jinich’s new book, Mexican Today, for a Cinco de Mayo party to remember.

I was honored to do the food styling, carnitas eating and drink testing for this sunny celebration…funny thing is…it wasn’t sunny…this all happened in a blizzard. Yep, while NYC was shut down, this team of 7 put together a May feast that Frida and Diego would have been proud of.
•A taste of the final story…
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Better Homes and Gardens May Issue Carnitas
•Behind the Scenes.
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•What was happening outside the sunny windows of the studio.
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The Team…after.
Better Homes and Gardens May Issue
Front Row (L-R):
Danielle Droudt: My uber chic food stylist assistant for the shoot
Me…always laughing with Nancy who at this moment is making fun of my Bieber pants
Nancy Wall Hopkins: Better Homes and Gardens Sr. Deputy Food and Entertaining Editor/Producer with a wicked sense of humor and fly dress code.
Con Poulos: The Coolest of Cool Photographer
Sarah Cave: Crazy Talented Prop Stylist AND Babe for Bernie

Good Times.

Food Styling Tips For A Perfectly Beautiful Bundt Cake

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower
Photography: Cedric Smith

A peek behind the lens and four easy steps to take bundt to beautiful.

1. Start with a delicious recipe.
2. Use a showy bundt pan and cake stand.
3. Frost or glaze a COOLED cake. (I like to spoon it over the cake in a zig zag pattern letting it run down the edges.)
4. ALWAYS fill the hole…always. (Try using flavor cues from the cake, this is a citrus cake so I used just picked clementines with the leaves still intact.)

Paper Airplanes, Pretty Boys and the Perfect Bourbon Cookie

By Libbie Summers (from my book, Sweet and Vicious –baking with attitude, Rizzoli)
Photography by Chia Chong

Paper Airplane Decorations from Libbie Summers (photography by Chia Chong)

Even though I’ve been asked to swim in the lady pond more times than I can remember (I did play semi-pro softball, after all), it’s men that I love. Inspiring men.

Men who can design a room, stitch a dress, paint a canvas, draw a cartoon, drive a boat, catch a fish, host a television show, or take a photo—and look good doing it.

It was my dream to bring some of these dapper men together for the first-annual meeting of the Southern Sartorialists (stylish men living in the South). So I did. And they came. On a cool fall day in Savannah, eight men of all ages met under a two-hundred-year-old oak tree with paper airplanes strewn about: Matt (artist), Josh (yachtsman), Ray (professor), Jamie (TV personality), Cedric (photographer), Anthony (fisherman), and Joel and Mitch (designers). They talked politics, comic books, art, and fashion, and flew paper airplanes in between bites of these lightly sweetened Bourbon-laced oatmeal cookies.
Southern Sartorialist Cookies from Libbie Summers (photography by Chia Chong)
Southern Sartorialist’s Cookie
(a salty, smoky, bourbon-laced oatmeal cookie for dudes)
yields 24 cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked salt (I use alderwood-smoked salt)
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1⁄4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook the pecans, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, just until they begin to toast. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, and the smoked salt. Remove from the heat and let cool in the pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 1⁄2 cup butter, the shortening, and the remaining brown sugar for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste, bourbon, and cream and beat until well incorporated. Add the egg and beat just until combined. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture in three increments. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer and stir in the pecan mixture and the oats by hand.

Drop the dough by big heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, until the cookies are puy and lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Perfect with two fingers of bourbon.
Southern Sartorialist's Cookie from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Southern Sartorialist's Cookie Party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Southern Sartorialist's Cookie Party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Paper Airplanes/after the party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Watch this party come alive!

Event Design: An Artful Appetizer Course

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower
Artist and Model: Katherine Sandoz
Still Photography by Cedric Smith for Savannah Magazine
Production Assistant: Anthony Lunsmann

In this 15-second video snippet you’ll get a peek into one part of the inspiration for my artful appetizer course.