it all ends tonight.

14 Jul

I’ve talked before about how much I love the Harry Potter series. When something has been part of your life over 10 years (over half my life), it moves from the role of “really good book” to something totally different… and as the movie posters have been trumpeting, “it all ends” tonight. While I have been pretty disappointed with some of the movies I thought the last one was really really good so I’m excited for this one.

In celebration of the premiere we made butterbeer cupcakes, a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while after I saw it on amybites. I’m forgoing posting the recipe/steps because she did such a nice job in her post.

I would definitely recommend this recipe, it’s delicious and tastes just like the drink at the theme park (not that needs to be the official standard of taste, but I thought they did a great job). The only change I made was making the frosting with 1/3 cup cream soda in place of the 1/3 cup butterscotch the recipe calls for and I used vanilla bean instead of extract. Also I made only half the amount of ganache and still had a lot left over so I would cut the proportions of that. Otherwise it’s a very well written recipe, the cakes is light yet moist and not too sweet which is good because the filling and frosting is very sweet. Check out the butterscotch filling below!

I’ll get back to you with what I think of this movie (and whether it makes me cry like the last one did…). Let me know what you think too!


we heart the fibre arts.

6 Jul

I love this latest example of fibre/fiber arts entering the mainstream via new editions of Penguin Classics embroidered by artist Jillian Tamaki, available in October.

P.S. In case you were wondering:

Fibre Arts:  A broad term that covers various types of modern work that are made with fibre but which are distinct from traditional categories such as tapestry.

 ‘The use and development of non-traditional materials in art, combined with feminist consciousness about the relationship between certain materials and processes and women’s cultural and historical traditions, led to an intense questioning of art traditions … The idea of using fabric as an art material both summed up the iconoclasm of the 1970s and established a context within which to mount a feminist challenge to the way art history honored certain materials and certain processes instead of others.’ (Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society, 1990) (

Whoa, how’s that for a highfalutin definition.

an unexpected environmental ally.

25 Jun

(a repost from the PSEC blog)

A little break from fracking talk for a TED talk by Bill Ford, Henry Ford’s great-grandson, on the future of cars and ways to move beyond them. Can you imagine going to college and being told that your family was responsible for America’s consumer culture and the resulting problems that are now spreading around the world including global warming?


we heart TOMS (but…)

24 Jun

My favorite TOMS have finally worn out. As you can see above, the sole has worn completely through and the fabric is beginning to poke through. Since TOMS are practically the most popular shoe around right now, I’m not going to tell you about the brand or “ooh and aww” over their charitable mission which you already know. While I still love TOMS (especially my new wedges), I am thinking of branching out for the following reasons:

1. Durability

I bought my Toms over winter break which means they have lasted about 6 months. While I do wear them a lot, and they don’t make claims about being super durable, this is still pretty ridiculous! If I had to buy a new pair twice per year I would end up with a LOT of old shoes.

2. Life Cycle Analysis

I’ve searched a lot over the internet for whether old Toms can be composted or recycled and I haven’t found anything specific. It seems that the canvas is made partly of recycled plastic, so that wouldn’t decompose, and the sole is made of recycled rubber, so it’s probably not recyclable either. I would really like for them to work on making a compostable shoe. They wouldn’t have to change much, using a natural latex bottom and biodegradable canvas upper and sole wouldn’t change the look or durability of the shoes.

TOMS does have a section on their Facebook page on repurposing old TOMS, but you repurposing things into knick-knacks that you don’t actually need isn’t true recycling.

3. “One-to-One” Criticism

There has been some criticism of their “one-to-one” model. The blog Good Intentions makes some good points:

  • It’s quintessential Whites in Shining Armor.
  • It’s doing things “for” people not “with” people.
  • They allow people to pay to travel with the distribution trips as shoe fitters thereby promoting poverty tourism.
  • They promote the “awareness raising” activity – One Day Without Shoes – which is really just a marketing ploy.
  • They ship in goods for free that outcompete local goods, it’s a short-term solution that could create long-term problems.
  • There are many better and cheaper ways to get shoes on the feet of the poor. Continue reading

“how I became 100 artists.”

20 Jun


An amazing Ted talk about an artist who was frustrated with the contemporary art scene and wanted to see more accessibility and craftsmanship. He decided to create a biennale (exhibition occurring biannually) featuring artists whose work he could explain to his grandma in 5 minutes. But when he realized how much work it would be to find such artists, he decided to do the work himself. So he created 100 fictional artists with unique backstories and personalities, and then created their work. It’s amazing!

the owls are gathering!

17 Jun

Apparently JK Rowling is going to make an announcement on Thursday! What is it? No clue. Is this an obvious marketing ploy? Yes, of course. Am I still excited about it? You bet. (See previous posts for how much I love HP).

more great greeting cards.

15 Jun

happy jewish dayhappy jewish day Continue reading

hilarious greeting cards.

12 Jun

Continue reading

we heart goat cheese.

30 May

Sorry for the long hiatus! With school over I was relishing not being tied to a computer. I’ll try to be more consistent for the rest of the summer. 

John’s summer job is working for an awesome Ohio goat farm and creamery, Lucky Penny Farm. He sells their chèvre and feta (and fudge soon?) at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip on Fridays and Saturdays. The year-old farm is cool not just because they make delicious cheese, but because they are dedicated to helping other small farms in the region and won a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant to aid that mission.

I got this interesting recipe for chèvre cookies from a postcard at their booth. What followed ended up being some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. They’re small and light, rustic yet sophisticated, and have a great subtle flavor.

Chèvre Cookies

Adapted slightly from Lucky Penny Farm’s recipe.
[print PDF]

Continue reading

back in seattle.

30 Apr

Happy to be back home in Seattle again! We were lucky enough to have a super summery finals week in Pittsburgh so I guess I got spoiled. Things in Seattle are more on the gray side. Today we’re going to Portland for the weekend, but this week I will be free if anyone is available to hang out.

I just wanted to share this quick packing tip that helped me out a lot (and will be a life saver for packing for Brazil): rather than folding your clothes, roll them into hot-dog shapes. It takes up a lot less space and doesn’t create creases in your clothes. Check out this little head-to-head….

Folded clothes... clearly not gonna' fit.

And rolled... wow I can close my suitcase now!