November 2010

the perfect case (gift idea #2)

SO I got a new computer (woo hoo!!) after 8 years or so (yep. 8 years. close your mouths) and was 100% thrilled until I started looking for a new case. I hate to say it, but pretty much all of the commercially available cases out there are lame.

My husband, of all people, suggested I check out Etsy, which I did. And happily discovered a few options that I really quite liked. But this one actually took my breath away. Beautifully constructed by Blythe King out of Richmond, VA, the entire line of  i-socket cases are individually (and beautifully) made from vintage fabrics– which addresses all of my issues (ie, is it cool? are they limited in number? and is it somehow friendly to the environment?) So you can be pretty damned sure that your boyfriend or sister or teenaged daughter won’t already own one. And if they do, they are living pretty far ahead of the curve.

She’ll also make a custom size for you if she has enough fabric on hand. And there is plenty of padding, so your precious machine is kept snug and safe, as well as looking good.

click below for more:

In the interest of full disclosure, I lifted this photo from Blythe’s Etsy page… I’m hoping that the good vibes (and sales) engendered from this post will make up for the unautherized use of the image! The photos that I just tried to shoot (in the dark) of my own case just didn’t do her work justice.

swept up (gift idea #1)

So the person in your life who has everything (except maybe a live-in cleaning staff) most likely does not have this Japanese street broom. Available at Kiosk, one of my all time favorite stores for buying unusual versions of everyday objects, this doesn’t say ‘I think you’re a mess’ as much as it says ‘you are the type who cleans with style.’

What makes Kiosk a place worth returning to again and again is the fact that they choose a country, go there, and bring back hard to find useful (or just cool) items that bring a smile to any design obsessed person each time they are used. I mean, I even love the fly swatter I bought there last summer and am horribly upset with myself for not buying 10 of them. Cause now they’re gone. Oh, will I ever learn?

for more, click below:

I would be happy if somebody got this broom for me, if that counts for anything. Actually, I would be happy if anybody got me any of the things I’m about to share with you guys in the next couple of weeks. Unless I already have it, in which case I will happily save said item until the one I currently have wears out.

Bring on the red velvet

I’m not a huge baker, but, not too long ago, I found myself in the position of having to make a pink cake with pink turtles on top for my daughter’s birthday. Which sent me in a panic to Which supplied me with an incredible recipe for red velvet cake. A dash of red color added to the icing and voila! the rose-hued cake of my little girl’s dreams. That particular version was devoured before I had a chance to photograph it, alas, but no worries, the cake made a repeat performance at Thanksgiving dinner, this time in it’s more adult, white-frosted, berry-coverd glory. (see above)

So many people asked me for the recipe that I figured I may as well put it up here, should any of you people out there be in search of a festive cake. What with the holidays already upon us, I’m figuring there should be lots of opportunities for this little number.

Here’s the recipe for the cake. I went the traditional (aka lazy) route and used food coloring to create the sumptuous hue, but would love to hear from anybody who has a more natural way to turn white cake into red…

Happy baking!!

Oh and stay tuned for the annual Brooke Williams holiday gift guide… the next week plus promises to be filled with near daily entries chock full of ideas of things to get your loved ones or coworkers or in-laws for kwanza or hanukkah or christmas, or for that poor soul in your life that was born on December 28th…


I know I haven’t been around in a long time and yet now here I am back, promising never again to leave you stranded for so long. Famous last words, I know. To be perfectly honest, the loss of regular babysitting has put a bit of a crimp in almost every aspect of my life. Except face time with my daughter, which for the most part is really rewarding, when she’s not driving me crazy. The challenge in this particular new phase of life is to come up with fun things to do constantly, lest I end up in a showdown with a cranky toddler. Plus I have to keep myself amused, too. Because a bored mother is not the kind of example I’d like to set for my little angel.

Which leads us to the American Museum of Natural History. A semi forgotten treasure from my own childhood growing up in the big city, this place ROCKS. It’s huge, and filled with endless exhibits, little (educational!) movies narrated by the likes of Meryl Streep, HUGE dinosaur skeletons and more. The butterfly conservatory was a particular favorite– we even had one land on us! Next time we will hit the plantetarium for one of the space shows, my own personal favorite from my oh so distant youth.

Plus if you brave the crowds on a Sunday as we recently did, you will be rewarded with an extensive farmer’s market right outside the museum door, where you can pick up brussels sprouts and apples and wine and cheese and all sorts of other seasonal goodies for your supper. So you can fortify your bodies as well as your brains, supporting the Earth as you learn about it’s history.

Can’t get much better than that, can you?