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Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

I was a long-time meal kit subscriber until one terrible kit changed everything. Now I make them myself instead.

Meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron are growing in popularity, and I was a happy subscriber for over four years. I enjoyed the variety, the time efficiency, and the cooking skills I learned. But with the services’ growing success, the companies and their meals have been changing — for the worse, in my opinion.

Then last year, one really terrible kit forced me to change too: I decided to quit the services for good. Instead, I’ve been DIYing my own meal kits for over a year. This is what I learned.

My reasons for starting the kits…


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Walnut Studiolo Leather Workshop. Photo by Cineastas PDX.

On the value of makers and making in the age of factories and robots


Resurgence of a hopeful childhood memory from Turkey in a time of political strife

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Photo by svklimkin on Unsplash

We filed into the cool, cavernous auditorium with its concrete pews lining the walls. After the heat of the midday Middle Eastern sun, it felt air-conditioned inside. The coolness of the damp earth and concrete was welcome and calming.

My mother walked us toward the middle as if she’d been there before — maybe she had — and selected a bench midway up the auditorium and halfway down, a good choice in the stadium seating to get the full scale of the concrete floor but close…


Watching the games is fun and relaxing, and the US Women’s Team needs your attention in their fight for pay equality.

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Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

This is an important time to be paying attention to women’s soccer, even if you think you don’t like soccer. Here are 3 reasons why you should be watching right now:

I did not grow up in a sporting family: there were never any sports games on the TV or radio in our home growing up, and I did not play sports with any enthusiasm as a youth. But as a college student studying in Europe and later as a volunteer in Guatemala, I was bitten by the international soccer bug — as a spectator.

Whether it was in brassy…


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Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

We experience plastic trash on our local beach every week. Inspired by recent news reports and nature documentaries, our small husband-and-wife e-commerce business, Walnut Studiolo, is committing publicly to eliminating single-use plastics in our product packaging.

In this article we’re sharing how and why we’re doing this as a case study and hopefully a road map for others trying to do the same (hint: telling people about it — raising public awareness — is a big part of the solution).

Why we’re eliminating single-use plastics

We live and work near the ocean, and we experience plastic debris on our beaches every time. We know how…

Valerie Schafer Franklin

Running a family craft business (walnutstudiolo.com) and writing for fun.

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