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DRY’s Five Best Finds: June 2013

July 1st, 2013

We come across a lot of amazing stuff on the internet every day and always make sure to pass it along on Twitter and Facebook. However, some of that amazing stuff really rises above the rest. With that, here are the top five things we found and shared this month in food, design, sustainability, creativity and more.

Cafe Accepts Kisses As ‘Payment’ For Coffee

In the dating world, generally coffee (dates) will lead to smooches. At Metro St. James in Sydney, Australia, the opposite is true. The cafe accepts real, legitimate loving kisses in return for a cup of coffee that must be validated by one of the cafe’s smooching experts (servers). This video made us way too happy, because if there’s anything that we love here in Seattle, it’s love and coffee.

Coffee Chain Prints Customers’ Faces on Their Lattes

As if coffee couldn’t get any better than in the video above,  a Taiwanese coffee chain has introduced the ability to print portraits onto the surface of your latte using cocoa powder. Flirty idea for your next Taiwanese coffee date: get coffee portraits printed with your sweetheart and then tell that person that they’re cute enough to drink. On second thought that sounds weird. Never mind. We’re sure you’ll figure something out.

Multnomah County Inmates Helping Raise Vegetables for Area Food Banks

Inmates at the Multnomah County jail in Oregon may be doing time, but at least they’re putting that time to good use. As a part of an effect to trim costs, improve management and help benefit local food banks, the inmates planted, tended to and are now harvesting their first crop from the jail’s garden. This program has helped dozens of inmates acquire classroom and hands-on gardening skills and cultivate positivity in a typically bad situation. Love.

How Cutlery Choices Affect Your Flavor Perception

A study from the University of Oxford in the UK has shown that our tastes and perception of food can be affected by the cutlery with which we eat it. The findings are absolutely fascinating – such as yogurt tasting denser and more expensive when eaten with a plastic spoon – and could eventually lead to improvements in cutlery that encourage diners to subconsciously snack on healthier food.

Pub Shows How Bitcoin Will Work for Retail

At one particular bar in east London, you may only need to bring your phone (and probably an ID). The Pembury Tavern has adopted a bitcoin payment option which allows patrons to pay for their night out with digital currency. Might this pub be seen as a pioneer in the digital payment world once the bitcoin moves from novelty to mainstream use?

RETAILER TALES: Coolhaus

June 21st, 2013

Natasha Case

Tinkering with DRY’s Store Locator for any length of time, you’ll find DRY Soda carried in some pretty amazing independent cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Each of these places has a story, so we’ve set out to bring you the best of these entrepreneurial endeavors to you in Retailer Tales.

Today’s Tale: Coolhaus

Chatting with: Natasha Case, co-founder

Location: Culver City, CA / trucks all over the country

Specialty: Architecturally-inspired ice cream sandwiches

With her Masters of Architecture complete, one might assume that Natasha Case would have gone straight into the industry. However, even with all her smarts and passion combined, there was something keeping her from that typical path.

“In school there were all these fancy words and terminology, things that are just so esoteric and intimidating for non-architecture people. These spaces are built for the public, but it’s all about how people perceive what the architect is trying to convey and it doesn’t always connect. It was lacking a human connection and I wanted a way to make that happen,” Case says.

With this in mind, Natasha found connection in the most universal of languages: ice cream.

Natasha started Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches in 2009 along with Freya Estreller to combine her passions for architecture and food as well as a way to bridge the gap between the general public and architecture. Armed with her idea of “Farchitecture” – food + architecture – Natasha set out to explore and expand the world of architecture through the medium of food. But first, the two needed a place to set up shop. ”The only thing we could afford was a truck, so we got this little beat up postal van on Craigslist to start,” Natasha says. “We couldn’t even drive it! We towed it to Coachella, set up shop, and that was the beginning of it all.” Coolhaus now has trucks roaming the streets of Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Austin and Dallas in addition to two brick-and-mortar shops in southern California.

The business began with interesting timing and circumstance. Though the nation was in the thick of the recession, the growing popularity of food trucks and widespread adoption of geography-based social media created the perfect stage for a viral launch of the brand, as is evidenced by their collective 100,000+ Twitter followers and 17,000 Facebook fans.coolhaus dry soda float

In explaining what sets Coolhaus apart from any other spot, Natasha pinpoints that  ”it’s really the architecture connection that sets us apart. It’s weird, and it’s so weird that no one else is weird enough to do it besides us.” This connection is embodied each of Coolhaus’ uniquely flavored sandwiches – constructed with cookies as the floor and roof, composing a place which ice cream can comfortably its call home, and then being named after famous architects and historical design movements. One of her favorite sandwiches – which is also available pre-packaged in select grocery stores – is the I. M. Pei-nut Butter, consisting of double chocolate cookies and mousse-like peanut butter ice cream.

Though Natasha had tried DRY Soda while in grad school, their paths crossed again at a No Kid Hungry dinner in Beverly Hills when Natasha was introduced to DRY’s CEO Sharelle through mutual friend Billy Harris. Coolhaus now carries several flavors of DRY Soda in its trucks and shop and even features many in floats.

Though a self-described “weird” concept, Natasha stands behind the connecting fact that “the best brands have a heritage that’s real. Anybody can create packaging and a logo, but it only truly works when the story is compelling and people want to get behind it.” By relating the design community and public together through food, Coolhaus has made a lot of happy, connected customers speaking the same tasty language.

4 Cocktails Celebrating National DRY Martini Day

June 19th, 2013

Dry Martini photo by Sterling Watts

Photo by Sterling Watts via Compfight cc

June 19th is National Dry Martini Day, and in the spirit of less sweet, better for you mixology, we’ve taken four of our best DRY Soda martini recipes from fans, mixologist friends and even some of our own team members to help you celebrate. Take a load off this evening and unwind with a celebratory DRY martini mixed perfectly for the occasion.

Find these and more DRY Soda cocktail ideas on the DRY Soda app for iPhone and Android!

Juniper Berry DRYtini

Jessica | Denver, CO

Ingredients

- 1/4 oz. vodka
- 1 1/2 oz. Juniper Berry DRY Soda
- Dash of lime juice

Serve: martini glass
Garnish: olive and lemon zest

Instructions

- Shake ingredients in a cold shaker until properly mixed
- Strain into martini glass and garnish with olive and lemon zest

Skip Rock DRY Martini

Skip Rock Distillers | Snohomish, WA

Ingredients

- 2 1/2 oz. Skip Rock Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Cucumber DRY Soda
- Splash dry vermouth
- 4 cucumber slices
- 1 grind of black pepper
- 1 cup ice

Serve: martini glass
Garnish: cucumber slice

Instructions

- Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker, shake vigorously for 30 seconds
- Strain into martini glass and garnish with cucumber slice

Plumdog Martini

John Freeman | Madmonk Solutions

Ingredients

- 2 oz. BULLDOG Gin
- 1oz. Japanese plum wine
- 1 oz. Lavender DRY Soda

Serve: martini glass
Garnish: black plum half wheel and lavender sugar rim

Instructions

- Stir over ice
- Serve in a martini glass with lavender-sugared rim
- Garnish with half wheel of black plum

Caramel Apple DRYtini

DRY Soda | Seattle, WA

Ingredients

- 1 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. Apple Pucker
- 1/2 oz. butterscotch schnapps
- 3 oz. Rhubarb DRY Soda

Serve: martini glass
Garnish: cherry

Instructions

- Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice
- Add bourbon, Apple Pucker and butterscotch schnapps
- Shake well and strain into a martini glass
- Pour in Rhubarb DRY Soda and stir
- Garnish with a cherry

Father’s Day Gift Guide: The Creative

June 14th, 2013

Fathers Day Gifts Creative

DO:

Curate a creative day out together

If there are two things the Creative dad in your life loves, they’re having creative fun and spending time with you. Plan a creative day out for you and pops that involves creative spaces and activities around your city. You can also weave in his favorite lunch and dinner spots as an added bonus for him.

If you need some inspiration, part of an example day in Seattle might look like this:

  • Morning coffee and a blind contour session at his favorite cafe
  • Afternoon walk and coffee in the Olympic Sculpture Park
  • Drinks and First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square

MAKE:

A bundle of creativity-enabling additions to his tech life

Chances are your Creative dad has a fair amount of technology integrated into his life. If you’re able, gift him a folder of creative apps for his smart phone or tablet.

  • Oflow - This app contains over 150 handy tips on how to infuse more creativity into different aspects of life. It even lets you set creativity reminders so you can help dad keep his brain fresh and moving every day.
  • Paper - Voted App of the Year 2012, this app is simply the most elegant method of drawing, sketching, painting and more on the iPad. Set your Creative patriarch loose on this and let his creativity flow.
  • Say the Same Thing – This app comes to us from OK Go – the band of treadmill fame – and is best explained in this video. It is a superb way to get the brain moving and sync up thought patterns with your Creative dad. Download it yourself and you two can keep up the creative good times long after Father’s Day ends.
  • Feedly - This is the RSS reader to which many are flocking given the retirement of Google Reader, and it offers an excellent opportunity to take this gift even further: research the best blogs for his areas of interest (design, technology, etc.) and create a full, customized RSS feed ready for him to dive into. Encouraging him to make his Feedly a part of his everyday routine will help him keep up on his passions.

BUY:

Education to grow the right side of his brain

The best thing you can give your Creative dad is the ability to create even more. We’ve recommended this gift in a past gift guide, but that’s because it’s just such a brilliant, thoughtful notion for the creative type in your life. If there are any community learning organizations in your area – like the School of Visual Concepts or Luminous Works here in Seattle – gift your Creative dad a tuition gift certificate to choose his own class. If If he’s more of a reader or DIY learner, grab him one of the many amazing books dedicated to the craft of creativity, such as The Book of Doing by Allison Arden or Imagine by Jonah Lehrer.

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide: The DIY Tinkerer

June 13th, 2013

Father's Day Gift Guide - DIY Tinkerer

DO:

Help him get going on a project

Has there been a project your DIY Tinkerer dad has been talking about for a while but just hasn’t been able to get started? Help him get going by researching one of his potential projects and doing what you can to gather the proper materials for him. Bundle them up and let him know you’re there to help! If it’s not your area of expertise, you can at least gift him some ‘coupons’ for time to spend together working on it.

MAKE:

An organization system he can use

The DIY Tinkerer is either impeccably organized or thrives in disorganized chaos. If your dad falls in the latter category, check out a few different ways to make his work space more organized. Whether it’s turning mason jars into an organization rack or putting his nails, screws and other small pieces into easy-to-access baby food jars at his work bench, there are a lot of options to help make his tinkering more efficient and clean. We’d recommend giving him the gift first and letting him organize it himself; messing up his current “system”, no matter how unorganized it may seem to the naked eye, could create more work for dad.

BUY:

Time or class at a collaborative work space

Though they may not exist in every city, collaborative work spaces, like Metrix Create:Space here in Seattle, offer tools, classes and expertise in areas that you won’t find anywhere else. Would your dad dig laser cutting? 3-D printing? Learning basic electronics? Collaborative, creative work spaces like these could end up being a second home for him. Help grow his brain and take his tinkering to the next level.

Father’s Day Gift Guide: The Athlete

June 13th, 2013

Fathers Day Gift Guide for the Athlete - Sports Dad

DO:

Commit to compete with him

If your Athelete dad stays fit with biking, running, etc. there are plenty of opportunities available to compete with summer fast approaching. Check for local races in your area and get them on the calendar, then commit to train and race with your pops. If you’re a little behind on the fitness schedule, we’d recommend scheduling a race pretty far out in advance. Alternatively, if you’re short on time or not the athletic type, commit to simply picking up his race fees and being his best cheerleader on race day. Encouraging him to get out and do what he loves is one of the richest gifts you can give.

MAKE:

His new favorite gameday essential

Whether it’s his alma mater or favorite pro team, your Athlete dad is a passionate fan. Add to his gameday experience with a handmade project that features his favorite team. Is he into football or baseball? Fall weather fandom calls for a cozy fleece blanket under which he can enjoy the game in person or at home. Fabric patterns for local teams can usually be found at your local fabric store. Does his weekend agenda partially involve relaxing on the couch watching sports? Buy a shirt of his favorite team and turn it into a pillow. A cozy fan is a happy fan. PS Go Hawks.

BUY:

UP, the activity tracker by Jawbone

If your Athlete dad is a mover and a shaker who trys to keep tabs on his personal fitness, helping him get even more out of his routine is a gift that truly keeps on giving. Getting him an activity tracker like UP by Jawbone - which helps track how you sleep, move and eat – can keep him continuously excited about improving his fitness as well as give him another fun gadget to keep him entertained.

Father’s Day Gift Guide: The Office-ionado

June 12th, 2013

fathers-day-3

DO:

Treat him to a pre-Father’s Day office lunch

Every dad expects something to go down on Father’s Day – so why not mix it up and surprise him a few days before? Do a little bit of recon and figure out what the rest of his week at work might be like, then find a day to swing by and surprise him with a pre-Father’s Day lunch date. Use your own discretion, however – your pops might be a planner and require more of a heads up, so perhaps build a bit of flexibility or take out the element of surprise when executing this plan for your dad.

MAKE:

Leather cases for his tech

The Office-ionado is a species of dad known to carry around a fair amount of technology for his job. Oh Happy Day‘s amazing Leather Laptop Case DIY is a fantastic project to create a thoughtful, classy and useful gift for his laptop, smart phone or other office tech. Whatever item you choose to make a case for, remember: measure twice, cut once! (“Make” photo credit – the ever-crafty Oh Happy Day!)

BUY:

A low-maintenance desk plant

Your dad is a hard worker, so make his day better by bringing a little more life to his office. Office plants make a workspace feel much more alive, cheery and oxygen-rich. Using Lifehacker’s guide to cubicle-friendly plants, you can find the perfect low-maintenance green match for your pops. You’ll give him a gift that keeps on growing without giving him a chore.

Father’s Day Gift Guide: The Foodie/Mixologist

June 12th, 2013

fathers-day-2

DO:

A progressive family night out

Though this may involve a little bill-splitting with siblings or mom, compile a list of dad’s favorite bars and restaurants and get the family together for a progressive night out. Go get appetizers and drinks at his favorite bar, move on to dinner at his favorite restaurant, then finish with an evening dessert and coffee wherever his favorite sweets live. For presentation, consider compiling branded cocktail napkins, menus, etc. and creating a mini map using each location’s logo.

MAKE:

A custom food/drink recipe book

Does your dad have a few favorite chefs he looks up to? Know any of his favorite food or cocktail bloggers? Gather up all the intel you can about your dad’s favorites, then go to town on researching food/drink recipes from his favorite chefs, blogs and mixologists and compile them into an ultimate food/drink recipe book to give him on Father’s Day. Go as big or small as you want – and there’s even a way to make your recipe book online – but either way it’s a chance to get creative and show him you know what he’s passionate about.

BUY:

A cheese of the month subscription

Satisfying both the foodie and the drink pairer type patriarchs, a cheese of the month subscription from Dobbs and Bishop – available in three, six and twelve-month periods – is a quick, easy way to mix things up for him every month. Take it a step further and dedicate one night a month to bringing the family together around cheese and drink pairings. Fancy!

Father’s Day Gift Guide: The Outdoorsman

June 11th, 2013

fathers-day-1

DO:

Treat him to a summer of hiking

Create a list of 5 hikes you’re going to take him on this summer and present it to him on a bag of trail mix or a map of your state. Use Alltrails to explore trails and find the best hike for you and pops, then move your focus to every other detail and plan it out as much as you can. Get dates on the calendar and go!

MAKE:

Custom trail mix with all his favorite tastes

Whether it’s hiking, fishing or another outdoor pursuit, your dad is going to need some energy. If you’ve got a good idea of his favorite tastes, mix it all up into the ultimate custom trail mix catered specifically to your dad’s taste buds. Here are 3 healthy trail mix recipes to get you started, as well as some starter tips of our own: Dad dig salt? Throw some mini pretzels in the mix. Know his favorite fruit? Dehydrate his favorite fruit that might not make a traditional trail mix. Want to change up the sweets? Sub in peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips.

BUY:

A solid multi tool

While your dad may be the type that’s always prepared, it doesn’t hurt to update his tools every once in a while. Looking at the 5 best multi tools, you should be able to grab dad a reasonably priced gift he can integrate into his everyday life as well as his outdoor adventures. You may even be tempted to pick one up for yourself.

World Environment Day 2013 – 7 Green Projects That Could Change the World

June 5th, 2013

7 Green Projects That Could Change the World - Green Sustainability

1. Seattle to Grow a One-of-a-Kind Food Forest

We’ve been keeping up with this project for quite some time, but it’s getting closer to a reality. The 7-acre public Food Forest, located on Seattle’s Beacon Hill, has plans to open this month and will be managed by a community of volunteers. Offering free fresh, local food to the community can cut down on carbon emissions from shipping and provide a greater focus on eating real food.

2. Airdrop Pulls Water From Air to Irrigate Plants

Irrigation can be a major problem for farmers and communities that exist in dry, arid conditions. With the Airdop, all you need is a plot of land and open air to generate water.

3. Window Socket: a Solar-Powered Plug That Sticks to Windows

The Window Socket, while only still a concept, allows you to turn any window into a solar-powered electricity outlet. Saving a little bit of energy at a time can make a big difference if this becomes a widespread reality.

4. Kinetic Energy-Harvesting Tiles Generate Power from Paris Marathon Runners

We as humans are full of energy just waiting to be expended. At this year’s Paris Maraton, Schneider Energy installed energy-harvesting tiles across part of the course which converted the steps and movements of the 40,000 runners into energy which powered displays throughout the marathon. Now, imagine Times Square in New York with this technology!

5. Indian Man Who Planted a 1,360-Acre Forest Now Plans to Plant Another

Starting in 1979, Jadav Payeng has dedicated thirty years of his life to planting a gigantic forest in his home country of India, and he’s now planning to dedicate the next thirty years to planting another. The forest he planted has provided shelter to animals displaced due to habitat loss as well as providing Payeng and his family with a place to raise cows and sell their milk. His work is an amazing testament to the difference a single person can make to the environment.

6. Microalgae Lamp Absorbs 150-200 Times More CO2 Than a Tree

While it looks like something that might turn baby turtles into crime-fighting, pizza-eating ninjas, these conceptual street lamps composed of microalgae could serve the dual purpose of sustainably lighting dark streets at night and absorbing harmful CO2 in the air. The microalgae is bioluminescent, meaning it produces light naturally and does not need electricity to run.

7. Carbon Buster: World’s First Carbon Negative Building Block Unveiled in the UK

While many organizations focus on becoming carbon neutral, Carbon Buster building blocks are made from 50% recycled material and capture more CO2 than what is emitted during their manufacturing.