Back to Blogging…

I mean, I blame myself mostly but… can we be honest? Instagram just makes life easy. I don’t have to take the most amazing pictures because, filters. I can briefly tell you about a project, you can swipe through “before & afters,” & I can also share pictures of Grace with an incredible amount of ease.

Anyway, I’m going to start posting here again. A lot more! Particularly in the coming weeks since I’ve decided to join in on the Calling it Home – One Room Challenge as a Guest Participant.

I’ll be working on a client’s eat-in kitchen area. No major construction, mostly just paint, furniture & accessories but I’m very nervous excited to get it done in just 6, short weeks!

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Currently it’s very orange & a pretty dark & heavy & totally not their style.

Plans include a wall color change, changing out the chandelier, a new rug, furniture, accessories & window treatments.

Be on the look out for my next post where I’ll be revealing my plans in detail, including a Photoshop mockup!

Meanwhile, you can find me on Instagram: @JamieBertolini, Twitter: @JamieBertolini & on Facebook.

 

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Campaign Comparison

So, lately I’ve been collection, curating, hoarding, whatever you choose to call it, I’ve been doing a lot of that. I recently participated in a pop up market called Savvy Restyle Market. They popped up in my downtown and I felt it was the right time to get my feet wet. I took with me, several pieces to hopefully sell but more to give people an idea of what I do as a designer. I’m all about repurposing things and up-cycling pieces that would have otherwise been discarded.

Well over a year ago, I wrote a post about the “Goodwill Campaign.” Shortly after rehabbing this awesome, old Campaign chest, I couldn’t let go of it so I moved it into my room, under my TV & promptly stocked it with clothing. I used it for almost two years.

I acquired two walnut Campaign chests last year and I’ve been using them as my nightstands and being me, I hate the fact that all of my furniture is the same style. All of that said, I carted this piece to the Restyle Market. Lots of lookers, no buyers so I carted it back home. Bummed? A little. But not defeated, I knew the right person would come along so I posted it all over Facebook. On Sunday, the TODAY Show posted this article (http://www.today.com/home/diy-decor-how-bring-anthropologie-look-your-home-2D80547306) about Anthropologie’s new campaign furniture with reference to a blog about DIY-ing your own version of it. I immediately posted the link along with the photos of my piece. I had some interest and a few people looked at it but no takers.

Tonight, I decided I’d style it in the photos and do a real comparison between mine and the Anthro piece and it sold within minutes! I’m going to miss this piece but I know the person who is buying it will treasure it and enjoy it now that I’m finished with it! Stay tuned for more furniture makeovers and also more projects that I’m working on!

AnthoCompareTwitter: @jamiebertolini, Insta: @jamiebertolini, Facebook: J. Bertolini – interior design

Thanks for reading!

2013 in Review.

Did anyone note the whirlwind that swept through 2013?

I mean, where did it go?

Is this what it’s like to be 25?

Days, weeks & months just fly by? I mean, I just put up the Christmas Tree (November 16) and now we’re going to take it down (next weekend?)

I feel like I just finished Christmas shopping (started in October) & we opened presents a week ago, already! Okay, I digress but I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Anyway, here we go!

So, 2013 started on the heels of what I now refer to as the “shake up.” I’m not going into details but our lives changed & friendships ended – a “clearing of the runway” occurred. Similarly, so many positive things & blessings, even in disguise at the time happened.

I’ll start with January. January 15 marked my parents 25th wedding anniversary. I casually mentioned to a friend that I probably had to make a big deal out of it, to which she agreed & also agreed to help me pull it off.

I decided that I’d arrange for someone to preach for my dad that Sunday & I’d book a room for them at our only 4-star in Greenville, The Westin Poinsett for the evening, after they enjoyed a Greenville Road Warriors victory. But could I leave it at that? Oh, of course not. Instead, I “went to work” that Saturday (I don’t work on the weekends) & when they checked into the hotel, I’d transformed it from an already beautiful room, to a room lined in silver (25th Anniversary is Silver), a huge, white (Lisa Vanderpump, Villa Blanca-style) floral arrangement, petit fours arranged under a glass dome & a chilled bottle of champagne awaiting them. Now, did it go off without a hitch? Of course not! Ha – I used their sterling silver toasting glasses on the night stands of the room & in mom’s, I put chocolates & my dad’s I put Runts, since they’re his favorite, and they spilled, ALL over the room – keep in mind, they’re waiting in the lobby because “the room isn’t ‘ready’ yet” and they have no idea that I’m even in Downtown Greenville, let alone in the room they’d be walking in to just moments later. They had a great time & I enjoyed it just as much putting it all together for them. I met them Sunday morning for brunch at Roost, our first experience there & Roost’s first brunch EVER. – AND I wanted this to be more pictures than words so I’ll shut up now 😉 OH! And the Westin even sent them some strawberries, a thoughtful touch for sure!

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In 2013 I got into this mode where if I found a good deal, whether at Goodwill, thrift shops, CraigsList, etc. I had to jump on it as if it would be gone forever. Some of these purchases were put to good use when I decided I was going to give the Tattoo Shop a little facelift…

You’ll notice the campaign bachelor’s chests – really just being stored at the tattoo shop until I redo my room, later this year. The red chest in the entry? A $20 Craigslist find from a couple of years ago. I’ll post before pictures of the shop later on, the walls were green & the trim & walls were a yellow-tan color. The trim is white now, walls are grey & the doors & casings are black.


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My main motivation, and some of you don’t know this but my dad was approached by a production company to film a sizzle (5-10 minute “episode”) for a reality show – it was focused on dad, the church & the tattoo shop & was not picked up yet (probably a blessing, honestly) but I don’t need much of an excuse to redo any space.

I also gained two new cousin’s in 2013 – Luciano & Adriana. No pictures of them until I clear it with their parents 🙂

2013 also marked my 25th Birthday. I had no idea what I was going to do as far as celebrating & honestly wasn’t really into thinking about it. I figured I’d go to Charlotte & go out with friends or something but I never could’ve imagined how that first week of May would’ve turned out. A lot of you know that we became friends with several of the Greenville Road Warriors players last year, one in particular that was hurt but then went home to Canada when he was cleared. My parents told me that we had to go to Charlotte to pick him up since he WASN’T medically cleared so on Saturday, April 27 we went & met my friends Michelle & Joseph, Michelle’s father & his friend at one of my favorite places in Charlotte, The Sleepy Poet – one of the best antique malls I’ve ever been to. If you’re in Charlotte, go there! Anyway, we then left for the airport. I’m looking out the window, my parents are saying “oh, there he is!” I couldn’t see him. I continued to look & I said “that looks like my grandmother… I still don’t see him!” Well, that’s because it WAS my grandmother. She was visiting for my 25th birthday, incidentally the first surprise of many that week. One week from that day, my 25th birthday, I took my grandmother shopping & then met my parents at the tattoo shop and we were going to dinner, so I thought. I was then blindfolded & we drove to our destination. I felt some familiar bumps in the road, literally but didn’t give them too much thought. Turns out, we were driving on the very road that I take to work every day, on our way to what turned out to be a surprise birthday party at friend’s of my parent’s home! When we were walking up their steps I knew where we were but still had no idea why. When we walked in, there stood my friends from near & far, my co-workers, with my parents & grandmother by my side. It was insane! We had a Photo Booth too. AND my mom stole pillows from my room, pictures from the gallery wall & other misc. accessories from the house to decorate for the party.

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Toward the end of May, we met my aunt & uncle (mom’s brother & SIL) in Charleston. It was the first time I’d been back to Charleston since I was young so a.k.a. the first time I could have a Bloody Mary in Charleston. Just calling it what it is… We went to Hyman’s Seafood which is a Charleston staple, you have to go at least once. We walked around all of the antique stores & down to the Battery to see all of the unbelievable houses!

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July was one of the most amazing months of 2013 – my Noni turned 100 years old. We travelled to Connecticut to celebrate with her. Since it rained here all summer, I was thankful for the heat wave for the week we were in Connecticut! Spent more time in my uncle’s pool than I did my own this summer! We had a lot of “times!”

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August was a busy month but it was a great month. After a very close friend of ours was diagnosed earlier in the year with lung cancer, we redesigned her bedroom & had a benefit pasta dinner for her. The bedroom turned out amazing & her reaction to it blessed us more than we could ever have imagined! Here’s just one photo of their bedroom since I don’t feel it’s my place to show their entire bedroom to the world. This is her “jewelry nook.”

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In September we vacationed in Hilton Head Island, SC with my grandparents. We had the best time – ate a lot, including but not limited to chocolate covered bacon & lobster macaroni & cheese and spent a lot of time at the pool & at the beach. I also binge watched Orange is the New Black. Um, hi, is it Spring yet? Time for season 2!

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Also – I forgot to mention that I was the Bravoholic of the week in July – it was a great experience even though there was some shade thrown at times. For my non-Bravo watchers, The Bravoholic is basically someone that gets to run a Bravo TV-owned account for a week, tweet with fans, Bravolebrites, etc. Andy Cohen asks a question on the air of yours and also, your tweets are on TV all week & they mention you from time to time.

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It was a lot of fun & they reward all of the ‘Holics with “Swag.”

Oh, and on September 16, the Legendary, Ms. Britney Spears mentioned & followed me on Twitter. So, there’s that.

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October is really the beginning of the end of the year for me. Holiday-specific decor takes over & I think that’s my main focus until January 1. Then it starts all over!

As you’ve probably noticed from Instagram, I treat our TV cabinet hutch as a mantle since we don’t have one, yet. So this was the end of September/beginning of October.

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Toward the end of October, I went to Charlotte to go to Scarowinds with my best friend Michelle. Why? Because we like to be scared $h*tless, apparently. Also, roller coasters. And Michelle’s boyfriend, Joseph works there so it’s fun watching him scare people.

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Also, for Halloween, we dressed as pirates & turned my mom’s Navigator into a pirate ship for our church’s trunk-or-treat! Forgive the blurry picture, not sure how that happened.

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November brought even more surprises when one of our hockey player friends, Marco returned from Denmark & showed up at our door on a Tuesday night. He wanted to surprise my dad & he was successful in that! His lovely fiancé, Alex joined us for Thanksgiving dinner & the three of us went Black Friday Shopping since they don’t have Black Friday in Canada. Incidentally, this is the same player that was the “ploy” to get us to Charlotte to pick up my grandmother from the airport!

Alex & I baked pies for Thanksgiving & then after dinner on Thanksgiving, we turned the dining room into an art studio & painted some canvases!

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Yes, my Christmas tree was up before Thanksgiving but I’ll post it after the Thanksgiving pictures just to make everyone happy. I simplified the Christmas decor this year but I think it turned out better than ever before! I’ll do an entire post on how I executed our Christmas decor later on but you have a sample for now. 🙂

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas & I’d like to wish everyone who reads this post (or at least looks at the pictures) a Happy New Year! I’m ready to make 2014 my… well, you know. 😉

Follow me on Twitter, @JamieBertolini, Instagram: @jamiebertolini & subscribe, if you’d like!

IMG_7584Just one more: Me, Mom & Dad with Santa 🙂

How to: Cleaning a Crystal Chandelier

Time for some background –

No less than a million years ago, my grandparents took this chandelier down from their dining room for some reason that I’m sure my grandmother is still trying to figure out. Every time she visits she talks about taking it back… it’s not happening, Dolly! (She’ll read this so I had to say it.) 🙂

ImageAnyway, it was the early 1990s & our entire house was Hunter green & other various  jewel tones. Counter tops, window treatments, carpet, everything. This chandelier was black with gold, wax “drips” on the candles so my dad spray painted it green to “match” our house & that, my friends, is where it all began.

Fast-forward to 1997 when we moved to South Carolina & the chandelier still worked with the décor of that house so it was installed there too.

Not to bore you with details but basically this chandelier is my sister is what I’m getting at so obviously, she moved with us to this house too. Before it was installed in this house, a coat of black spray paint was necessary. Hunter green was OVER.

Now, that was 2007 so I was in design school & couldn’t just leave it solid black so I finished over it with metallic silver paint, then color washed the entire thing with black so it looked like pewter & that’s the way it’s stayed & I’ve added the tear drop light bulbs from Restoration Hardware, as well. A splurge but they’re so classic & add a little something extra.

Wait a second, isn’t this a post about cleaning a crystal chandelier? YES! I promise you, I’m getting there.

So, here’s the thing. It’s kind of a show-stopper especially since our house isn’t a chateau nor is it a Jersey McMansion, it’s a pretty casual house but with little moments of glamour. Being that our entire living area is open, this chandelier is visible from most all of the rooms – you can imagine that we like to keep it clean since it’s really one of the first things people notice upon entering the house.

This is what happened today: I was all “I know how I clean the chandelier but I wonder how others do it.” So I grabbed my iPad, went straight past Go Google to Pinterest, where else & I couldn’t find a single, good tutorial on how to clean a crystal chandelier! Can you believe that? Especially since they’ve been trending for the last few years, you’d think someone would’ve done a post on it by now. Also, there was one person who said that they recommend a professional for cleaning a chandelier. Um, ain’t nobody got time… you finish the rest of that.

Anyway, here it goes. It may not be “right” but it’s how I’ve done it forever & it works.

To start, you need to remove all of the crystals. If you don’t know your sister chandelier like I do, you may want to make a list of where the crystals go, for instance, on the “leaves” of our chandelier, all of the crystals have pointed facets on each side where the ones that hang around the candles have a flat side. It’ll just make it easier to put it back together after it’s clean.

Now, place the crystals into a colander. We’re Italian so we have a few of those hanging around here.

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Then, stop the drain in your sink & fill the sink with warm water & a few tablespoons of dish detergent, fully submerging the crystals.

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Meanwhile, letting the crystals soak, go find an old towel or drop cloth to lay beneath the chandelier to catch the dust from the light itself. A natural bristled paintbrush will be your friend for dusting off your chandelier. I never use liquid on the light itself but the paintbrush manages to rid it of dust & spiderwebs with a relative amount of ease.

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Rinse the crystals with warm water, using the hand sprayer. After that, spray the crystals, in the colander with glass cleaner – this is very important so that you don’t end up with spots on the crystals. Once they’re all sprayed, rinse them again with warm water using the hand sprayer.

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ImageHere comes the time consuming part – if you’re still with me! Take a soft cloth, (I used a disposable, dish cloth this time but you can use anything that’s relatively dust free) & spray it with glass cleaner. Take each crystal, wiping them down with the cloth sprayed with glass cleaner, then dry with a paper towel & immediately hang it back on the chandelier with the paper towel covering the larger part of the crystal if you’re neurotic & hate finger prints as much as I do. Repeat this 30,000 times until all of your crystals are back on the chandelier & you’re done!

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I know it’s time consuming & I know it’s kind of a pain in the ass but look how it sparkles when it’s clean! It’s worth it & really it only took about an hour from start to finish and there’s roughly exactly 64 crystals plus the one crystal ball that hangs in the middle of the chandelier.

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Hopefully my run-on sentence of a post made sense & will help you in cleaning your chandelier!

Tweet me @JamieBertolini

Stay tuned for more – not more housekeeping posts though, promise!

JB

The [almost] Perfect Shade of Tiffany

A few months ago, I was discussing front door colors with a Twitter follower (@latinabug_nj). I had just painted our front door Wythe Blue from Benjamin Moore & also, updated the storm door with a coat of Classic French Grey from Sherwin Williams.

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I really love it but it’s not saturated enough for my liking. It’s staying this color for a moment but I’ll revisit it sometime this summer. Not to mention that I want to paint or lime wash our brick & the trim, overhangs & gutters all need a coat of paint… I digress.

Anyway, she was telling me that she wanted a Tiffany blue door and I was all “try Wythe Blue, blah blah blah” & then it hit me, I’ve been to Tiffany’s, given gifts from there & Wythe Blue is NOT Tiffany blue. At all.

So, what did I do? I hit the deck. The Benjamin Moore fan deck. I wasn’t trying to avoid gun shots, just find the right color.

stole borrowed a Tiffany box from my mother & started flipping through & I found it.

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Scuba Green by Benjamin Moore. It’s slightly different as you can see from the picture but it’s so close that even I, who is always critical of color selections would agree that it’s good. Hence why I named this post the [almost] perfect shade of Tiffany. I guess you could take a Tiffany bag or box to SW or BenMoore & have them color match it but I prefer to go in with my formula number, have it mixed & get home to start my project!

Side note: I’ve seen on Pinterest that many have pinned colors that they claim ARE Tiffany blue. I looked at most of them & none are really even close. Scuba Green is IT, people!

Let’s go paint some stuff turquoise now!

Tweet me @JamieBertolini

Talk soon!

Goodwill Campaign

No – Goodwill is not running for a political office. Just stick with me here.

Months ago, (not unlike my last post… whoops!) I was unsuspectingly browsing my local Goodwill Store for a diamond in the rough. It’s very rare that I find anything but my mom & I periodically (every Thursday) hit up the G-Dub to see if they, by chance have anything just sitting there for next to zero dollars like I see on these other blogs & of course, on Pinterest. Well, according to my Instagram, 34 weeks ago my wish came true.

I’d been looking online and at many local vintage, antique and thrift shops for a campaign chest like the ones we’ve all seen on Pinterest, here: this amazing desk from Centsational Girl– http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/02/the-kelly-campaign/ &  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/rooms-with-classics-campaign-chests-177293 on Apartment Therapy. Having worked for Henredon in the past, I knew they’d once manufactured some of the most coveted Campaign chests “back when” but they’re difficult to come by & when you come by them, they’re priced insanely, especially since we all really just want them for their awesome, recessed hardware – am I right, or am I right?

At any rate, I’m browsing The William, casual & I walk by this hideous yellowed dresser & I didn’t even give it a second thought until I gave it a second look & realized what I was looking at. The piece I’d been waiting for! Kind of… it was more of a chest of drawers than a bachelor’s chest but listen, it was $20. Twenty dollars. WHAT?! Comparable pieces I’d seen were 10 times that amount or more & the Henredon ones? Let’s not even talk about it. Of course I grabbed the tag off of the piece & immediately purchased it. It’s not a Henredon piece but a mass-produced, Campaigner “Dixie” Chest. Thank God we were in mom’s car that night or I would’ve had to leave it & go back the next day. No time fa dat!

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So, as you can see, it was awful. If I had to guess, some child had the whole set in their bedroom in 1950/60-something then once they went off to college, someone decided it would make a nice workbench in their garage. A white, laminate top was added at some point too & the outside of it was filthy. The hardware is silver & I wasn’t thrilled because I really wanted brass hardware but I figured I could always spray paint the hardware if I really wanted to. When I got it home, I left it in the lanai screened-in porch for the night. I opened the drawers to let it air out & I wiped down the entire outside with Clorox wipes, inside of the drawers too after I vacuumed them out. It had that nasty-old-furniture-smell. YUCK. Well, remember what I said, I Instagrammed the original picture 34 weeks ago. It stayed in the screened-in-porch until today. In fact, it was sort of a fixture out there but I was ready to get it painted & move it into my room. It had been 34 weeks, after all! What the rush, right? It was just time, okay?

I’ll admit, my prep work was lax at best. I busted out the sander & smoothed some peeling paint & some of the edges but that was it. I didn’t even prime. Shame on me. Originally, I was going to chalk paint it but I wanted it shiny & even with the wax over chalk paint, it still looks pretty matte. Matte isn’t a bad thing but it wasn’t what I was going for. Anyway, I browsed around the paint store my garage & the only gloss paint that we had was “Classic French Grey” from Sherwin Williams, the color I used on our shutters, yes, exterior paint. I’m thinking this is why it covered so nicely in two coats. Originally, that chest was to be a shade of Kelly Green but that’ll be in its next life. For right now, the grey works & especially with the silver hardware & I’ve been on a grey kick for a steady 3 years now so this should come as no surprise…

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I kept the white, laminate top for now because I’m not sure what I’m going to do to it nor am I sure how I’m going to do anything to it. It doesn’t bother me but it will eventually. Also, I plan to change the top drawer into a “flip-down” so I can store the stupid HD receiver in it & close it up when I don’t want to see it.

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I’m thrilled to finally have it cleaned, painted & most of all in my room after 34 weeks! Can you tell that I still can’t believe that I’ve had the thing for 34 weeks? I’m not sure if I should be upset with myself or just get over it that it wasn’t a top priority.

Here’s a picture of it next to the Eames chair & I love the way the two look together. Granted I’ve not accessorized it yet, it still looks good.

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By the way, did you know that originally, Campaign furniture was designed for military use? The hardware on the edges was used so that when a family would move, as they so often did & still do in the military, the furniture would be protected from any damage that could be caused during moving. The pieces were actually easy to disassemble for transit too! Imagine taking your furniture apart when you move? No, thanks. Also, while Campaign-style furnishings have been trending for some time now, they actually date back to the early 19th Century.

Since then, by the way, I purchased two, walnut Campaigner bachelor’s chests off of Craigslist – with brass hardware, even! They’re at the tattoo shop behind the counter – another blog post entirely as I’ve just recently been working on a light remodel of the tattoo shop. Did you know my parents own a tattoo shop? I’m sure I’ve mentioned it but if not, now you know.

I’ll keep you posted on all of that. Until then, tweet me @JamieBertolini – talk soon!

WeightWatchers called…

And they want their membership back. I mean, they literally want me to mail my Monthly Pass back to them. Okay, not literally.

I made a Coffee Crumb Cake tonight & it was amazing. Not tooting my own horn, it wasn’t my recipe but it was so good. I got the recipe from Cooks.com (http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,186,157186-243201,00.html) – my main intention was to find a coffee cake that used pancake mix since we were out of Bisquick. This is it & it turned out great. Give it a try!

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Recipe is as follows:

1 c. buttermilk pancake mix
1/2 c. melted butter
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. milk
Mix ingredients with fork. Pour into pan.
CRUMBS:
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
Mix with fork until crumbly and sprinkle on top of cake. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
 
Can’t get much easier than that! Enjoy!
 
Twitter: @JamieBertolini