Friday Things

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

1. I whipped up a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake for Driscoll’s Berries, which they’re featuring on their site this week. Be sure to check out my tips for making the perfect cheesecake, as well as the recipe. You’re going to love this very berry and summery cheesecake!

2. A couple of weeks ago, I asked for some opinions on e-readers. Thank you for all of the feedback! My friend leant me her Kindle Paperwhite and I’ve been using it for a few days now, flipping back and forth between that and the Kindle app on my iPad (reading the same book). So far I think the Paperwhite is definitely better for reading – much easier on the eyes and the look mimics that of a book. Plus, it’s smaller (can easily fit in my purse) and much lighter (I can hold it with one hand!). My only complaint is that it was a little sluggish when trying to browse for books, but realistically, I’d probably do all of my browsing/purchasing through on my desktop anyway. I didn’t think I would ever do it, but I just might jump on the e-reader train after all.

3. A couple of weeks ago, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I, along with his parents, drove over to West Virginia and toured the Homer Loughlin China Co., which is where Fiestaware is manufactured. We had finally decided to go with Fiestaware for our everyday dishes and since we only live a little over an hour away from the factory, we thought it would be fun to do a tour and then get our dishes. It was amazing to see how much is actually done by hand; such meticulous work!


Look at all those colors! I can see how people get a little addicted to buying all the different colors of Fiestaware. I already have my sights set on changing things up for each season, but for the time being we settled on a combination of plum and lemongrass, along with white serving pieces. Do you have any favorite Fiesta color combinations?!

4. Thank you to everyone who chimed in with recommendations for a dog bed for Einstein. I ended up ordering the Orvis Tempur-Pedic Deep Dish Dog Bed; Einstein has had it for a couple of weeks now and seems to love it.

Einstein in his new bed!

We have a little sitting area in our bedroom, which has now become his little bedroom. He goes back and forth at night between his bed and the floor in the master bathroom. I woke up one morning to find him like this:

Einstein snoozing in the bathroom

I thought the bed would take some coaxing, but all it took was sitting on it and inviting him over; he crawled in and curled up. From that point on, he got in all on his own!

5. Speaking of dogs, did you hear about Chase the Bat Dog? Chase was a Golden Retriever who acted as the “bat dog” (in lieu of a bat boy) for a minor league baseball team. He passed away earlier in the week and there were some articles about him. He looks so happy retrieving those bats! If the story itself wasn’t enough to get me severely choked up, I had to go ahead and browse the photos from his “retirement ceremony”… I then traveled further down the rabbit hole and watched the tribute video, which left me sobbing. So, yeah. Consider yourself warned.

6. Sorry, one more dog story. I also read about Dutchess the blind therapy dog this week. Totally melted my heart.

7. I’m doing some preliminary searching for a potential house to rent somewhere in the vicinity of Kiawah Island or maybe Hilton Head. Does anyone have any recommendations?

8. I am a few years past the big 3-0, but these 30 Signs You’re Almost 30 are all spot-on.

9. Thanks to Jessica, I am now following Candace Cameron on Twitter and Instagram. I so loved DJ Tanner when I was a tween. Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I still catch Full House reruns on TV during the day!

10. TGIF! I hope you see sunnier skies this weekend than we had this week!

Einstein on storm patrol


62 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. Holiday Baker Man on July 12, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I can never get enough of dinnerware factory outlet stores!


  2. Cat Davis | Food Family & Finds on July 12, 2013 at 12:33 am

    That cheesecake looks to-die-for. But I can’t make it, I won’t. I’ve promised myself I would lay off the sweets for awhile.


  3. Tammy on July 12, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I loved the fiesta ware pic!I have and use fiesta,(I mix up all the colors),the durability is amazing!One day I will make it to the factory!


  4. Tieghan on July 12, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I love the fiesta ware! It is so fun and I wish I actually had some. Also Love the cute dog photos!

    Have a great weekend!


  5. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 12, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Me, at Fiestaware, would have been a very dangerous$$ situation. I would have wanted one of everything, in most every color πŸ™‚ I love that pic you took – thanks for sharing!!


  6. Kiran @ on July 12, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Fiestaware looks so festive and colorful! What a fun trip πŸ™‚


  7. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on July 12, 2013 at 2:51 am

    OMG I still watch Full House any chance I get! Love the fiestaware…


  8. Kristen on July 12, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Ha! I was just telling a coworker how I’ve been watching full house reruns lately


  9. Pieliekamais on July 12, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Aww, Einstein! πŸ™‚ It looks like he’s loving his (OK, your) new place and his new bed.


  10. Dana on July 12, 2013 at 5:38 am

    make sure to sign up for a library card so you can download free books for your kindle. most public libraries have an Overdrive system to allow you to wirelessly transfer books after you check them out. I have a library card for each place I’ve lived so I can access several libraries. its great because when i travel internationaly i can sit at an airport or cafe and download new books for free. I’ve never had to purchase a kindle book!


  11. Amy O'Connor on July 12, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Oh, those doggies! What great heart-warming stories to start my day with! Thanks for sharing!


  12. Joy on July 12, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I love the plum & lemongrass combo! My brother & sis-in-law have peacock & tangerine.


  13. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on July 12, 2013 at 7:20 am

    lol, love Candace Cameron, she is one of the only teens didn’t seem to grow up all messed up. Growing up I was in love her brother Kirk Cameron! I had posters of him all over my bedroom. He ended up marrying the girl on Growing Pains, which was from Buffalo, which is where I lived at that time and I thought, why not me. lol


  14. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on July 12, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Those dishes are amazing! I actually had not heard of them before! Plum would most definitely be my favorite since that is the color of the dishes I have now!!!!


  15. Mallory on July 12, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Unfortunately I cannot recommend a place to stay in Kiawah Island (my great aunt lived there so we were lucky to stay with her), but if you’re in decision I’d definitely go there! It is so relaxing and beautiful. Not to mention Charleston is so close!


  16. Tahnycooks on July 12, 2013 at 7:33 am

    that cheesecake looks scrumptious! love the color of all those dishes!!


  17. colie on July 12, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Love Love Love Fiestaware!!!! We use Fiesta for everything!! I have marigold and lemongrass!!!


  18. Tiffany on July 12, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Love fiestaware! I have a 4 color combo, white, yellow, orange & turquoise with serving pieces in those colors as well! very cheery to eat off such colorful plates πŸ™‚


  19. Barbara on July 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

    We use almost all of the colors of the Fiestaware, though I can not eat off some of the blues and greens (bleh). The yellows and purples are my favorites. My husband’s parents started buying and mixing the colors — his mom has a ton — and now all the children have done the same. It’s great in case one of us needs a few more plates for a party! One thing I really like about all the colors is I buy mismatched cloth napkins and they always look good. I just keep a basket of folded napkins (we use them daily) and whichever color I choose looks good.


  20. Cindy D on July 12, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I love fiestaware…right now I only have the deep red(not sure of the actual name) pitcher and spoon rest. We might have to take a trip to West Virginia! I heard Candice Cameron speak in person at my daughter’s college, in VA, a year ago. She is awesome in person and has quite a life story! BTW your dog is adorable, and the cheesecake looks delicious ( Too bad I’m on a diet!!!)


    • Michelle on July 12th, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Cindy~ would this have been at Liberty University?? 2 of my kids attend LU and my 3rd will be a freshman there this fall. We heard Candace speak there last year, and you’re right – she is awesome in person. So down to earth and honest and caring. My kids heard her brother, Kirk Cameron, speak there this past year.


      • Cindy D on July 12th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

        Yes Michelle, it was at LU! Both of my kids went there, my daughter graduated last year and my son 3 years ago. I would have loved to hear Kirk speak as well.


  21. Jennifer on July 12, 2013 at 8:50 am

    OMG – I love Hilton Head. Sonesta is beautiful in ShipYard but so is Coral Reef – both beautiful places to stay and you are down town where everything is at – by Coligny and the beach but not right on the beach. If you want to get fancy you can stay @ the Hilton which is really nice. It’s right by the “lighthouse” (not a real lighthouse but still really cool) and watch people tee off on the 18th hole when you are at the top (it’s legendary – really cool). Hilton Head also has a TON of great places to eat – Harbor Hot Dogs…best hot dog ever. You also have to go to Signy’s at get FRENCH TOAST. Yeah…I love this place!

    They also have a ton of rentals which are really fun if you don’t want to do a hotel. We haven’t stayed in a bad one yet! :0)


  22. Dawn Kink on July 12, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Be still my heart. That photo of Fiestaware is enticing me into a road trip.

    Tempur for a dog bed, what a great idea, especially as they get older it must be very comfortable on their aging bones.

    I almost never ‘shop’ for books on the Kindle itself – it is far too cumbersome. It’s either on a computer or my iPad. I actually still go into bookshops too to browse and take photos or notes of books I’m interested in and then buy them for my kindle later. Not to worry though, the bookstore always gets some business from me too – I never come out empty handed – there’s always a cookbook or travel book or photography book…that I want. It’s just novels for my kindle.


  23. Karin on July 12, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Michelle, I just put in a deposit for a beautiful creamy golden retriever! I’m wondering if you have any dog hair advice?? (This is our first dog, so excited)


    • Michelle on July 14th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Ooooh HUGE congratulations on your new golden!! You are going to LOVE him/her! They have such amazing personalities, so happy for you πŸ™‚ As for dog hair, truly, it’s a never-ending battle. You just have to accept it. I bought a Dyson Animal not long after I got Einstein, which makes picking up the hair easier. I do usually need to vacuum the rooms he frequents most (kitchen/family room) every few days to keep the hair tumbleweeds from getting too crazy. Have fun with your new pup!!


  24. Barbara MacDonald on July 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Love this post! I had a black lab growing up and just love the pictures of your retriever:-). My parents actually have a house on Kiawah! I would highly suggest going there instead of Hilton Head! I would suggest renting a condo there, or house if you are going with a bunch if couples and friends. There are a ton of activities for kids while you are there. Definitely don’t miss hitting up charleston! Magnolias…get the fried green tomatoes and you will be in heaven! Getting a drink on the rooftop bar at the pavilion hotel is a must too! On kiawah, there is a place called mingo point where you can go on a dolphin boat tour – by far the coolest thing! So much to do and I love it there! Check out more here: thanks for all your great recipes over the years! My co-workers really appreciate it:-)


  25. Beth on July 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

    My fiance came into the relationship with Fiestaware and I have now also fallen in love with the dishes. So beautiful and they clean up wonderfully. Each time a new color comes out we are at the store pronto. Although we have one of each I love tangerine & lemongrass. My soon-to-be step-daughter, that is 12, woke up before 7 today to watch Full House – she will gladly admit that she is addicted!


  26. Abby on July 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

    My husband and I have a goldendoodle and she sleeps in the same position you found Einstein in one morning – too funny! It doesn’t look comfortable at all, but it must be. Our puppy’s other favorite place to sleep is between our pillows, but we are trying to break that habbit as it is not always comfortable for us. Gotta love dogs πŸ™‚


  27. Robin Christensen on July 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I love your blog – makes me want to be your girlfriend! I love hearing about your dog – I had a lab/australian shepherd mix that lived to be 13-1/2 years old and slept in our bed with us until the last 5 years of her life when it got too difficult for her to get up into our bed. I MADE her a bed out of eggcrate foam with a piece of nice, firm foam inbetween and glued on foam sides, too. I then made covers for it. I smiled when you said that you weren’t sure your Einstein would like his new bed because after I showed Emma her new bed and said, “this is YOUR bed, Emma” she laid down and loved it from that minute on!


  28. Michelle on July 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Einstein is too cute! I love your pictures of him just as much as I love the ones of your fabulous baking & cooking creations. I have a 1 year old Golden Retriever, Ruger, who lies just like that in his kennel. Goldens are the best; they have such personality. Ruger watches Steeler football on tv, and the Pens too (particularly if there is an on ice skirmish πŸ™‚ ). I am ready to get a little friend for him, a little girl Golden would be perfect! My daughter has a Paperwhite and LOVES it – go for it! I have a normal Kindle and I still have to have my hands on a real book occasionally though. I’ve been contemplating a purchase of Fiestaware, and your picture is sealing the deal in my mind πŸ™‚


  29. Marcie @ flavor the moments on July 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Your cheesecake is absolutely gorgeous! I’m gonna have to check it out over at Driscoll’s. I’d be in heaven in that china shop – love all those colors.


  30. Jamie @lifelovelemons on July 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Again, my favorite thing about these posts is always pictures of Einstein!


  31. Sevimin Aşkanasi on July 12, 2013 at 11:06 am

    thanks for the nice sharing


  32. Jennifer on July 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I love my Fiestaware! I have lemongrass, white, turquoise and chocolate. I keep them stacked in that color order in my cupboard (yes, I’m nuts). And Driscoll’s is a mile down the road from my house – they rock!


  33. Mia on July 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I have the older retired colorway that is similar to lemongrass which was a limited 2 year run (chartreuse – slightly more vivid) and some lapis and tangerine pieces. Now I want to add some plum to it. I love my Fiestaware.


  34. Courtney Hoffmann on July 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hi! My family actually has a vacation house (that’s used as a rental) on Seabrook Island –which is right next door to Kiawah. It’s private–property owners only and has full club amenities. If you and your family would be interested in renting it we would be happy to help! Here is the website for the island:

    Have a nice weekend!


  35. Rachel on July 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Love, love, love fiesta ware! I grew up 20 minutes away from the factory and prefer to buy ‘seconds’ because they are so much cheaper! You have to dig al little and bring a rag when searching through the seconds but they usually have very little chips and few imperfections you can find with the naked eye. My boyfriend and I use my fiesta ware for our everyday dishes and he likes them too. You never have to worry about matching because all the colors pair so well together! But I love the bright colors best! Enjoy!


  36. SusieQ on July 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I too love all of the beautiful Fiesta colors. For my everyday dishes I use some no name brand of white, BUT I have the Fiesta Java Mug in just about every color. they are all so pretty and the color combinations are fun. I live in Florida and tend to prefer the bright colors, although I must say I sort of rotate with the season. πŸ™‚
    I have made several of your recipes lately, all delicious I might and, and I must try this cheesecake. Three things my daughter loves, raspberries, cheesecakes, and Oreos. It has to be good!
    Your Oreo refrigerator cake from last week…the bomb! My family RAVED over it!


  37. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on July 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I love Fiestaware and I would like every single piece in the picture. That might be a little too much for 2 people but I like options! πŸ˜‰


  38. Linda Pasteuning on July 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Of course I love your recipes otherwise I would not be following you, but being a dog owner and lover, I so enjoy the pictures and articles with Einstein and other dog stories. I especially loved Chase the bat dog. I live in Holland and have 2 baseball playing boys, (which in Holland is as common as cricket is in America. In other words not). LouLou is a great retriever but too small to be able to carry a bat, otherwise she would have been bat dog for the team.


  39. LeighK on July 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve never wanted a dog, but those pictures of Einstein are really making me question myself!


  40. ida on July 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Just loving the picture of Einstein on his back in the bathroom. It reminds me of my baby girl Angel, who passed last year just before her 15th bd. She is still in my heart and on my desktop and i think of her all the time. That picture made me smile and i thank you for that. My last on her back picture is still on my phone. Enjoy your baby and give him a kiss for me.


  41. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on July 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Michelle, I get all choked up over pet stories as well. You’re not alone! Had a “discussion” with Baker Peabody over those ASPCA abused pet commercials. We both cry over those! Grab the tissues. Great job for Driscoll’s! Love those people. How fun to visit the Fiesta factory! I’d break the bank there, that’s fer shure. Candace Cameron is a doll…a beautiful person inside and out. And, Einstein…LOVE him! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend! xo


  42. Virginia on July 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I have a kindle, but I get all my books on my computer- it’s just easier to browse for books that way, and with wi-fi enabled on the kindle, the books are there by the time I’m done doing everything else I do on the computer (facebook, blogs, email, etc.). I live in Charleston and definitely recommend staying on Kiawah (or Seabrook as a previous commenter recommended). Both islands are very residential and “beachy” but are also close enough to Charleston and all its great restaurants. is one rental company that has properties on both Kiawah and Seabrook. is a local realtor who specializes in Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns Islands.


  43. Terri A. on July 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I would highly recommend Kiawah Island. I’ve been there several times and LOVE it! One of my favorite places to beach. I also started following Candace Cameron on Instagram from Jessica’s post! She’s the only celeb that I follow.


  44. JCHokie on July 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Hi, fellow Pittsburgher here. Just wanted to stop by and say that we LOVE Kiawah. We’ve been vacationing there for the past five years (were just down there in May). It’s so beautiful and secluded, I definitely prefer it over HH. I would suggest looking into villas from the Sanctuary Resort or my BFF and her husband actually run a property mgmt company down there. Here’s their website.


  45. Mandy on July 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I’m so envious of your trip to the Fiestaware factory! I have the scarlet red for my main pieces (cream & sugar, butter dish, etc), but I love to mix and match everything. I was able to purchase most of my Fiesta at 75% off when a store went out of business, but i think i created a dangerou$ addiction! The red and yellows work well together, so does the peacock blue and cobalt, or the turquoise and lemongrass.. Your color scheme sounds really nice too. I also love how the colors match most of the Kitchenaid mixers if you want to be really matchy matchy. You will love having the Fiesta for your everyday dishes – they’re a little heavier than other brands but I’ve found they don’t cheap easily.

    Your pictures of Einstein are always so cute!!


  46. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts on July 13, 2013 at 12:56 am

    That cheesecake looks amazing! Pinned!!


  47. Rachel on July 13, 2013 at 2:27 am

    We have a lot of Fiestaware but it comes nowhere near my mothers collection. She owns a piece of every color ever made. We currently have all the colors that currently out as well as a number of retired ones but we don’t have too many of the vintage ones. I too have been to the factory. It was fun! I like having all the colors although people do think it’s weird when we order a set of every color that comes out.


  48. J @ semplicemente ... J on July 13, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Love your posts as always. Can you please tell me the size bed you brought and how much does Einstein weigh. I have been considering getting a new bed for Dante. He is beautiful as ever. Loved the dog stories!


    • Michelle on July 15th, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Sure! I bought the large bed; Einstein weighs 72 pounds. The bed is admittedly HUGE, but when he sleeps on his side with all of his legs out, it fits him perfectly. Here is an additional size chart on Orvis:


  49. Linda on July 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Just found your blog a couple of days ago, and I’ve already made some of your recipes for a local bake sale. Thanks! Oh, and that dog bed just went on my wish list for our lab.


  50. Nessa on July 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    That fiesta-ware is great!


  51. Sues on July 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Oooh all the Fiestaware dishes look so pretty. Hope you had a great weekend!!


  52. Heather on July 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I love my fiestaware, I have it in like 4-5 bold colors all mixed together. It’s super durable and looks nice. Also, if you happen to break a piece, it is easy to replace and relatively inexpensive. Good choice!


  53. natalie@thesweetslife on July 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    We’re heading to Kiawah Island (which my siblings have dubbed Quinoa Island ;)) in two weeks….we found a house for our whole fam via VRBO. Sooo excited!


  54. Lisa on July 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Your blog makes me smile… thank you for sharing your life (and your beautiful goldie!!)


  55. Beth on July 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I LOVE Fiestaware! I have all Cobalt Blue Fiesta, but would love to mix it up with the brown and the ivory. I need more cupboard space first! πŸ™‚


  56. Laura Dembowski on July 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I will have to check out Fiestaware as I make a serious effort to buy all US made products and they are so hard to find. I also watch Full House repeats sometimes. I am amazed at how much I remember them. The good old days!


  57. katie on August 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    hi, what icing tip you used for this? thank you


    • Michelle on August 1st, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Hi Katie, I believe it was a Wilton 1M tip.


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