Wednesday, October 27, 2010

State Pride

While procrastinating writing a paper, I decided to browse Etsy, a community marketplace of way too many adorable crafted and re-sold goods.

Of course, as this paper centers around the respective rights of states and the federal government, I found myself browsing state charm necklaces. While this has no academic benefit, it's been a great study break!

One of my favorites is the aptly named "Teensy State Charm Necklace." It really is tiny; the charm is just under the width of a finger. I also like that the state's name is stamped on the charm. Coupled with the delicate chain, it adds a sweet touch to the final product.

I'm a fan of the mismatched metals in these "Home is Where the Heart is" necklaces. There's a certain folksy aspect to them that gives the air of a wonderful back story. The heart also rounds out the cute metaphor of the piece's name.

These necklaces would make a touching gift for someone moving away from home (college students especially) as they serve as a wonderful reminder of the special place we call our home state.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Coffee Art

Like any college student, there are a few too many nights that end in the shocking realization "It's already 3:00? How'd that happen?" and far too many mornings that start too early.

I consistently eat breakfast, a habit instilled by my mom's (generous) practice of sending my siblings and I off to school with what would constitute a weekend brunch in most households. Case in point: my senior year of high school we were asked to share what we had eaten for breakfast as an exercise in my Human Geography class. The aim was to demonstrate eating patterns as both an effect and cause of cultural habits and geographic influences. As student after student responded with some variation of cereal, a Poptart, or no breakfast, I sheepishly downplayed my actual breakfast (eggs benedict with fruit) as an English muffin.

Without my mom at school to cook her amazing breakfasts, I've simplified to a new routine of toast, fruit, and coffee. The coffee I brew is nothing special (it took several tries to dissipate the bitter taste which is about the extent of my skills with the beverage). Partly due to my own inability to make anything beyond a simple cup of Joe, I am fascinated by baristas and their coffee expertise.

A few years ago, while sharing a latte with a friend at a small, local coffee shop, I was first introduced to "coffee art", the practice of drawing designs into the foam topping of espresso drinks. The simple heart swirled into the drink was a special touch that made the shop and its friendly barista extra memorable.
The concept of using food as a medium for art is fascinating. Great cuisine is always judged by presentation, so the extension to beverages is hardly surprising. Like a beautifully presented plate of food, the drink is meant to be consumed. While the brief life of such art is a bit sad, it makes for a wonderful treat.

For the creatively inclined, Wikihow has a how to guide complete with video. This would be a lovely surprise for a friend during an afternoon visit or on a rainy day!