blue laurel

colette_laurel 227I made a new Laurel dress over the weekend. I’m not nearly as happy with it as the first one. The dress itself if quite cute but it doesn’t seem to fit me as well. I think the main problem lies in that I had forgotten to pre-shrink the fabric on the first version so it is just a touch more fitting than this one. I’ll most likely give this one a hot wash before moving forward with any other alterations.

colette_laurel 228colette_laurel 229On the other hand, I am really happy with how the fabric looks and since it is just a touch too big it’s quite comfortable.

It is the last day of September and I’m so terribly excited for October. I’ve already begun a list of horror movies to watch. September has been mostly a drag. It hasn’t been a very busy month and I thought I would have more time to accomplish little projects but as of right now I’ve only crossed off 3 items from my to do list. I’m looking forward to putting this month to a close and starting my favorite month of all!

The Punk Singer

Kathleen Hanna (2010)_ Photo courtesy of Aliya NaumoffIt’s been awhile since I’ve been compelled to speak up about a contemporary movie (well, since Upstream Color). Usually the publicity machine works just fine without me chiming in. The Punk Singer had such a strong effect on me I feel I must say something. It’s not so much that The Punk Singer is a groundbreaking documentary but rather that it gives such an intimate look into the life of Kathleen Hanna; how she stood up as a leader in the riot grrrl movement and how she all but disappeared.

I saw the film just last weekend at a special screening at Cinefamily. We showed up two hours early to line up for the event, and scored a couch next to Hanna herself. I’ve been a huge fan of Le Tigre since high school and Bikini Kill retroactively. (A little known piece of trivia: my original blog was a misheard lyric from a Le Tigre song. This just made me realize I’ve been blogging for some time now.) Le Tigre was the fun and upbeat music that I could sing and dance to but also had real meaning. Bikini Kill was the rebellious girl version of some of the more hardcore stuff I was listening to. Yet, besides the songs themselves, I didn’t know much about the bands beyond the names of their members.

The Punk Singer let me travel back in time and see so many of the Bikini Kill shows I never could have seen, but more importantly, it showed me exactly who Kathleen Hanna is. Her words, without even trying, were an inspiration. She began writing because she felt like no one had listened to her. She joined a band to have her voice heard. She called the girls to the front so that there was a safe space. She told everyone what Riot Grrrl meant to her but asked also what it meant to everyone else.

The film also shows the pressure and strain that being in the spotlight put on her, from the media analyzing her looks and personal history to misogynist threats against her. Seeing the difficulty of everything just made me admire her more. It also details her reasons for leaving Le Tigre and going off the radar (until now, where she is on tour with her new band The Julie Ruin).

Mostly I just appreciated her candidness, in both the film and in the Q&A after the show. She’s honest and funny and intelligent all at once. If I sound a bit like a fan girl at the moment it’s because I am. There are so many great feminist women to look up to, but often they seem so far from who I am. It was wildly exciting to be in the presence of someone so outspoken who I could easily identify with.

The Punk Singer
comes out in late November. You should probably go see it.

new new york

dunwell_donutcandle 79 dunwell 227Though we always try to visit our favorite vegan spots in New York, it’s a treat to get to try someplace new. This visit we made a trip to Dun-Well Donuts. It’s an adorable shop with superb vegan donuts. I could imagine spending a rainy afternoon there sipping coffee and nibbling on donuts.

candle 79 dunwell 228Even though I don’t think I could have eaten one more sugary thing if my life depended on it, I still sort of regret not getting the maple milkshake.

candle 79 dunwell 230candle 79 dunwell 229candle 79 dunwell 231Shawn also treated me to special dinner at Candle 79. We had a quite a harrowing journey across town to arrive at the restaurant, but the delicious food quite made up for it. We started with the squash ravioli and the cornmeal poppers which were wonderful. There was also a little edamame corn appetizer which was nice as well.

candle 79 dunwell 232The seitan piccatta was the standout of the meal. It had such a great flavor and all the elements of the dish balanced each other wonderfully. I hope to get to visit again and try more from the menu.

equinox cookies

sugar pumpkin cookies 229The Autumnal Equinox has arrived and right on cue the temperatures have dropped to a reasonable level. To celebrate being able to turn on the oven without turning the entire apartment into a sauna, I made a batch of fall sugar cookies with maple icing.

sugar pumpkin cookies 227sugar pumpkin cookies 228Sugar cookies are easy if you remember to make the dough in advance. I mixed these up yesterday and then spent the entire evening wishing it was time to bake them. I’m happy to say I still have half the dough waiting in the fridge for later in the week since I’ve already eaten about a third of the batch I baked this morning. I used the recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar which is one of the simpler vegan sugar cookie recipes out there.

The maple icing is just a tad maplely; just a hint for the beginning of fall. It hardens just enough to have a glossy sheen without being crunchy. Here is the recipe:

Maple Icing

1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 drop orange food coloring (optional)

With a hand mixer, whip the water and egg replacer until frothy. Add in maple syrup and continue to whip for a bit longer. Sift in the powdered sugar an mix until combined. Add in food coloring if desired. Use right away or cover with a damp cloth.

With fall’s arrival I’m looking forward to more baked goods and more fall crafting as it is the perfect time to cozy up with a classic movie and work on knitting and quilting projects. I still haven’t come up with any Halloween costume ideas that have stood out. I’ll have to keep brainstorming. What are you excited for this fall?

Champs and Vegan Treats

tofu_benedict_champschicken_waffles_vegan_champs There are so many great vegan brunch spots, but Champs holds a special place in my heart. A quick trip to New York over the weekend meant brunch was first on the agenda. While I was tempted to get the monte cristo like last time, I went for something new and tried the tofu benedict. I was not disappointed. The hollandaise sauce was perfect and so was the combo of faux ham and tofu. Shawn got the “chicken” and waffles which were equally as awesome.

pb_tandy_cake-vegan_treats We also made the trek out to Bethlehem to go to Vegan Treats. It’s always worth the trip to get some freshly baked items. I got a peanut butter tandy cake which was ridiculously rich and lovely.

vanilla_custard_soft_serve-vegan_treats 230This was the first trip where we’ve been able to get soft serve. The vanilla custard soft serve was so good. Best soft serve in recent history without a doubt and perfect with the chocolatey peanut buttery cake.

cheesecake_vegan_treatsdonut_pretzel_vegan_treats I’m always impressed with how beautiful all the cakes are at Vegan Treats. I love that there are always new things to try. They now have a lot of gluten free options as well as lots of fun doughnut variations like the donut pretzel above.

I guess it’s a good thing that these places are on the other side of the country so that I can’t eat at either all the time. Then again, that might not be so bad.