Love List

In this space I will only write about blogs and products that I truly love.

Chris Bathgate, machinist sculptor

Chris Bathgate, self-trained machinist sculptor in Baltimore, has been on my unofficial love list for years so now it’s time to make it official. Baker Artist Award 2014 winner and two-time Pollock Krasner Foundation winner, Chris’ work has been exhibited worldwide. I discovered his sculptures back in the early 2000’s when he was beginning to explore working with dark salvaged metals. Now, his work has evolved to a highly technical fusion of arts, craft, and design that is bursting with color, fluidity, and movement.

As explained on his website by Curator Ron Labaco:   “He utilizes handmade tools and automated CNC (computer numerical control) milling and drilling machines to create precisely-crafted elements that assemble into complex sculptures. Machining is his method of artistic expression. He has spent more than fifteen years adapting metalworking machinery from salvaged and repurposed equipment. Bathgate’s aesthetic considerations stem from the very machines that he uses to create his sculptures. Each piece that he makes is informed by the one it is preceded by, and he modifies his machinery accordingly—not for improved practical function but for the aesthetic developments that can be produced.”

Chris has works that are small enough to fit in a pocket as a wishing stone and large enough to cover a wall. They all have one thing in common – exquisite detail.

For more information and to view his portfolio visit his website

Chris can be found on Instagram at

Branch Basics

I first became aware of Branch Basics in 2014. and began ordering in February 2015. It is a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, gluten-free, tree nut- and peanut-free plant- and mineral-based, non-GMO from corn nor corn/maize DNA detectable cleaning product that works! It is has no harmful preservatives, stabilizers, brighteners, chelators, or surfactants. I love their concentrate but my oldest daughter loves it even more. She has struggled with sensitivity to her hands from every soap she has ever tried. Once we discovered Branch Basics she never looked back. It is  is formulated especially to avoid irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, skin, and respiratory tract.

Reykjavik, Iceland, 2015

We use the Branch Basics concentrate for hand & body washing, cleaning the bathrooms, and laundry. We add essential oils to it for cleaning and unscented for washing. We waited patiently throughout the reformulation – patiently, because we seemed to have enough of a supply squirreled away that we could be patient. The fact that the Branch Basics team was willing to look deeply into their product and communicated openly with their customers throughout the entire process reinforced that this is a company deeply committed to safety, versatility, and effectiveness.

My travel size Branch Basics goes every where with me. My daughter keeps one with her in her backpack so that she can use it in place of the soap in her school. The farthest it has traveled with me so far was the ATP show in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2015. So, glad I had it there.

If you are interested in more information, visit

If you are ready to order, use this link to get $10 off of all products:

Wood and Oils

I am just loving my Wood and Oil roller these days. Wood and Oils is a Etsy shop owned by Casi Truesdelle and her husband. Her love of essential oils drives the shop. Last year I purchased her Facial Roller for myself and gifted one to my oldest daughter.

Facial rolling has been around for centuries, most notably in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Facial rolling tools such as jade and rose quartz are used to massage one’s face and neck. This process assists with lymphatic drainage and the general circulation of the skin, increasing blood flow and helping to bring oxygen to the surface.

For me this is a morning process. I roll my homemade facial serum – a combination of essential oils and witch hazel – on my face and then roll my face and neck with my facial roller. It is not only relaxing and soothing but my skin feels brighter and less puffy afterwards.

Facial Serum:
2 parts Lavender
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Tea Tree
1 part Copaiba
Fill the rest of the roller with witch hazel.

Wood and Oil can be found:
On Etsy:

On Instagram:

Mississippi Vegan

Mississippi Vegan, Timothy Pakron, is at the top of my love list. And, not just because of our mutual connection to Jackson, MS. have followed Timothy Pakron for several years, since his days in NYC and I find him delightful, his photography gorgeous, and his recipes AMAZING! Family favorites include: Happy Crab Cakes, Macaroni and Cheese, Apple Peanut Butter Caramel Bars.

Right now, I am loving his new cookbook, Mississippi Vegan: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart.

image from

I have awaited this cookbook with tremendous anticipation. I was not disappointed. In fact, it is even better than I had hoped. Timothy Pakron has taken the recipes that I have grown up with and veganized them. I have made many of them already and they are delightful! The Classic Gumbo is homey and comforting like cooking with your grandma! The Shiitake Bacon is fun and versatile. Cheese Straws – oh, how I have missed them. They are such a ubiquitous holiday snack but I never managed to find the focused time and attention to veganize the recipe and now I don’t have to because he has done it for me. No one has even noticed that they are not the traditional cheese straws we were raised on. 

As always the photography is stunning, the stories bring up memories of times long past, and the recipes are attainable for all levels of cooks. The connection to home-place and the role food places in one’s life narrative comes through so strong.

Explore his blog, check out his cookbook, find a recipe, and try it. Let me know your thoughts on it.