Classic (20 Minute) Croissants

Do you ever wake up in the AM and the first thing on your mind is, “Omg! I want a chocolate croissant!”?? No? Not exactly an every morning kind of thought, huh? This morning, I woke up with that random little thought. And you better bet on the fact that I got my chocolate croissant. By “got” I mean baked, and by “croissant” I mean croissants plural- who is going to stop at one?? Check out below to learn how easy it is to make all of your chocolate croissant dreams come true :).

Fact: I like things to be elegant, fancy and enjoyable. I like those said things even more when they can be made simple. So that is why for your chocolate croissants, I suggest to buy pre-made croissant dough. AND, best part… wait for it…. YOU ONLY NEED THREE INGREDIENTS!

Cute and Classic 20 Minute Chocolate Croissants

Ingredients: Pre-made croissant dough, semi-sweet chocolate chips and one egg.

Steps (follow them, don’t forget, and watch the timer!):

1.) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2.) Roll out your croissant dough into individual triangle shaped pieces on a non-stick cookie sheet, be sure to not have the dough pieces touching each other.

3.) Place 10-15 semi-sweet chocolate chips toward to the bottom of the croissant dough (the wider end). You want to avoid putting them close to the skinnier end of the triangle; otherwise the chips will roll out of your croissant!

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Sprinkle chocolate chips in the middle before rolling the dough into the croissant shape!

4.) Roll ’em up!! Roll the dough from the wider end upwards to the opposite end. Place back on the cookie sheet and shape to the crescent croissant shape.

5.) Take the egg and just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it (Michael Jackson jams are optional, but recommended!). Brush the tops of the croissants lightly with egg. This is going to create that pretty darker hue on the croissant tops and give an added flakiness.

6.) Pop those babies in the oven! 11-15 minutes!

7.) Chocolate drizzle time! While you are waiting for the croissants to bake, take about two handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips and place them in a microwave safe bowl. You are going to want to microwave the chocolate chips in 10-second intervals. Between each interval stir the chocolate mixture. I did four intervals and then another one right before I started the drizzle process.

8.) The chocolate is your paint, and the croissant your canvas! Drizzle the croissants lightly at an angle for optimal prettiness 🙂

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Perfect, pretty and pleasing!
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Downtown Detroit Is Where It’s At …So Where Are You Going To Live?

Right now Detroit is in the midst of an economic renaissance. As the scene is changing and the city is waking up from her deep sleep of economic downfall, businesses and people are deciding they now want to live and work in the city. So the question we are all asking is, “Where are we supposed to live?”

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Sign for the DuCharme Place

As Rachel Perschetez of Live Detroit says, “There was about a 2% increase of occupancy from 2013 to 2015, and both Downtown Detroit and Midtown Detroit are very highly occupied. Downtown is at a 98% occupancy and Midtown is at a 97% occupancy and that’s a statistic that is continuing to increase”.

So what are we going doing to do? There is clearly a very high demand for housing in the Downtown Detroit and Midtown Detroit areas – specifically rental units. About 85% of these markets are rental units and 15% are owner_occupied units.

Rachel Perschetez of Live Detroit discusses statistics from 7.2 SQ MI A Report on Greater Downtown Detroit

Sachse Construction, a Detroit based construction management firm, has a great solution to this problem of no housing – more housing. A lot more housing. This year Sachse Construction broke ground on two monumental projects for the City of Detroit: The Scott at Brush Park and DuCharme Place. The Scott at Brush Park will provide 199 mixed-use housing units ranging from studios to one, two and three bedroom apartments and Ducharme Place will provide 188 mixed-use housing units ranging from studios to one and two bedroom apartments. Both complexes will feature indoor parking structures and pool areas for residents along with some other really great amenities.

The Scott at Brush Park Location

DuCharme Place Location

Todd Sachse, the CEO and Founder of Sachse Construction, the developer of both projects, as well as the co-owner of The Scott at Brush Park, with sister company Broder and Sachse. Sachse said his vision for the Scott at Brush Park is, “to introduce a project that does not exist in the entire city of Detroit.” He went on to say, “actually, I would argue that I am not even sure that it exists anywhere in Michigan.”

Scott

The Scott at Brush Park is going to be a true game changer for downtown Detroit. As Sachse says, “It’s about creating a community, not just an apartment complex.” Sachse is excited about this project, because its creating a living space that provides amenities that also act as services: libraries, a pool, conference spaces, a bike shop, pet washing stations and bike storage. The Scott at Brush Park will be managed by Broder and Sachse Real Estate,

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Rendering of The Scott at Brush Park

The Scott at Brush Park will help catch Detroit up to other cities in the country that have similar apartment complexes, such as Chicago, Minneapolis and Atlanta. The best thing about this astounding apartment complex is that it will be affordable for the middle class Detroiters. Units will range from $900 a month to $2900 a month. A $900 studio, in any city located next to the epicenter of that city’s sports team, is unheard of. The area is also centrally located for residents who work in the Downtown, Techtown and Midtown areas.

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Sachse went on to explain saying that Ducharme Place, is in a secondary market, because it is located directly outside the downtown market. This location, Lafayette Park, was not hit as hard financially as other areas in Detroit. Due to the proximity of being barely outside of the city center the rates of these units will be a little less, ranging from $900-$1800 a month.

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Ducharme Place is located directly next to Lafayette Central Park

Ground breaking for Ducharme Place took place on November 6th, 2015. Unlike The Scott at Brush Park, Sachse Construction is only acting as the general contractor for the DuCharme Place project. Walter Cohen and his son David Cohen are the owners of the project. The Ducharme Project is a $45 million dollar project.

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Construction Site of DuCharme Place

A local Detroit resident, Ben Alfaro, who is a writer and teacher with the InsideOut Literary Arts Projects, highlights a problem with all the “new and attractive housing.”  According to the US Census Bureau, the average annual income in Detroit is $25,193, and Alfaro points out that the new housing does not seem to be targeted towards the residents who already live in the city. He states, “One may argue that new development isn’t aligned with income in the city, because it’s not for Detroit residents.”

Proponents of Alfaro’s train of thought, like to point out that new housing developments are at the expense of its current residents and that inner-city inhabitants are often stuck in terrible cycles of economic failures, such as failing public school systems, high unemployment, and moreover, are often unable to afford the ever-increasing housing rates and are therefore, pushed out.

Indeed, Alfaro goes on to say that, “the housing is for more affluent people, typically outside of [the]city limits or newly migrated to the city. That begins to present a problem, especially in such an historically deindustrialized and impoverished place like Detroit, when new, often wealthy, white bodies become the focus of development and capital [investments] in Downtown, Midtown and Corktown, but poor, black bodies around town are still dealing with stripped services, dilapidated housing and lacking economic freedom.”

John Gallanger

Notwithstanding the truth that oftentimes housing developments built in a city’s epicenter, focus on “often wealthy, white bodies,” there are clearly, many benefits to this purported gentrification.

Significantly, developing and building more new housing, in a city that was plainly in her elder years, is in a way, a type of social Darwinism; it is a process of creating the sorely needed renewal to ensure the survival of the city herself. Increased new construction of housing units, no matter what level income they target, helps to increase competition among builders and, importantly, to eventually reduce competition among renters, once an ample supply is available. This helps to keep prices down both in newer, luxury level units, as well as in lower income units. Supply matters.

Perhaps even most important, most residents people would agree that Detroit’s streets now feel safer and they are no longer an embarrassment. Detroit is becoming a safer city through the recent investments and construction happening in the city.

Benjamin Alfaro gives insight into what new upscale housing developments in Downtown Detroit means for other Detroit residents

One thing that is missing though is the high-end luxury housing that is often seen in other downtown cities. Everything is at one’s fingertips. Property values are typically much higher in downtown areas, because they are at the epicenter of a city. Alfaro furthers explains that he thinks luxury housing does ultimately belong downtown over other neighborhoods and from an urban planning point of view, it is well known that when prices are raised in a particular area, the costs surrounding that area begin to rise too. Currently this can be seen in the Lafayette Park district. As soon as ground was broken on the DuCharme Place, the neighboring Lafayette Towers, a high-rise apartment complex, raised their rental prices $150 per unit a month.

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Rendering of DuCharme Place, hanging in the on-site construction trailer

Sachse explains it in layman’s terms why Downtown and Midtown are becoming more expensive. “As any city develops, it started with its nucleus – where commerce is going on and it typically grows in concentric circles. So we will see that over the next few decades, because it will take deccades is that Detroit will regrow in concentric circles, this will happen from the cost of living.  In any city the closer you are to urban area, central business district or other ares such as arts and culture areas you will see that they are the most expensive and then as you get further out it becomes less expensive.”

It is very important that one recognizes the fact that as Downtown and Midtown Detroit become increasingly more expensive, it will push development further outside of the center, thereby creating more housing that is not necessarily in the epicenter of the most populated area of the city.

Todd Sachse discusses why Downtown and Midtown are becoming more expensive

Jim Jehle, a Senior Project Manager for Sachse Construction working on both the Ducharme Place and The Scott at Brush Park projects, anticipates they projects will be completed in December of 2016. Leasing for both complexes will begin in Jan. 2016.

Jim Jehle gives insight to the expected completion of the projects

Barbara Douglas

For further reading on these projects or for information about the great Detroit area demographics check out these sites:

The DuCharme website

Detroit 7.2 SQ MI Report

Scenes from a Changing Detroit by The Atlantic

M-Live article about The Scott at Brush Park

LIVE Detroit gives weekly updates of available Detroit rental units and homes for sale

Live Detroit

2500 Facebook Friends But No One To Go Out With On A Friday Night

A review of Alone Together by Sherry Turkle.

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When my copy of Alone Together arrived in the mail I started reading it immediately. I have always been very interested in the idea that as technology and social media are evolving our traditional relationships seem to fall short to the ease of internet friends.

Sherry Turkle is a psychoanalytically trained psychologist who is a social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Turkle has been exploring the ever evolving way that humans have been living their lives via the internet for over 15 years. I was very excited to read her third of trilogy of books that explore technology and personal relationships.

Alone Together in the very beginning stuck a very interesting point. Turkle describes taking her daughter Rebecca to the American Museum of Natural History in New York to see the Darwin exhibit. At the entrance of the exhibit were two real giant tortoises rather then fake tortoises like in so many of the other exhibits. Rebecca after inspecting the tortoises exclaims the exhibit should have used “robots” instead of real tortoises. I thought this was a perfect way to lead in to what Turkle is trying to show us; why do we prefer the fake and pretty to the real and potentially dull. Rebecca wanted to see a shiny plastic tortoise as opposed to a real tortoise. The entire concept just blows my mind.

The issue with how comfortable and preferable it is to constantly be online is that “online you become the self you want to be.” Sadly the downside to that is e lose the “raw, human part” of being with each other. Online we are all perfect. Which makes me wonder, do our perfect versions of ourselves online cause us to actually be more unhappy in real life when we are actually all together? I am going to guess yes.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when Turkle dicussses going to visit Rodney Brook’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT in 1994. The lab was hosting a workshop about robots called “cogs”. Turkle explains that as soon as she entered the lab she was greeted by a “cog” and this made her feel happy and that she then was competing for the attention of the “cog” with the other people in the room. She really emphasizes how when she got the attention of the “cog” she was really happy. This is really interesting to me because all of the real people in the room wanted to interact with the robot rather then each other.

I think it is also very interesting that Turkle brings up that people are beginning to archive their lives, especially on Facebook. I know I am. I like some of the other twenty-somethings she mentions in her book want a place where we and other people connected to us can go to have a look at and better understand our lives.

I am very interested to see what our relationships are like in the next 10, 20 and 50 years!

Check out NPR’s review of Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.

You can also check out Alone Together’s website that also features Turkle’s TED Talk, Connected, But Alone.

 

 

Hey you! Journalist! Don’t Get Into Arguments With The Public Online!

Ethical Question: Can journalists have angry discussions with the public? Simple Answer: No.

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Angry exchanges; we have all either had one or seen them before. According to Eric Carvin, social media editor of the Associated Press via his collection of ethical questions entitled: Social Networks and the News: The Key Issues, Carvin encourages us not to get into angry social media spats with the public.

When I first read the question, “Is it wise for a journalist to get in angry exchanges with the public on social networks?” I pictured in my head a very angry journalist punching away on a keyboard while responding to followers who believe the said journalist is stupid for endorsing Bernie Sanders (i.e: the guy pictured below). I thought this question was referring strictly to angry internet exchanges. These exchanges happening via the reporters personal social media account. After reading Carvin’s response to the question I saw that it also encompasses paid opinion journalists and those who are encouraged to spark discussion with the public about civil matters by their news organizations.

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As a journalist you are obligated to be respectful of/to people and opinions differing from your own. Journalists are a direct representation of their news organizations and it is their duty to be respectful and ethical. So typing “You are a F@#$%&! idiot for thinking Donald Trump is the answer to all of our problems!” via your personal social media account is most likely a terrible idea as nothing is really personal or private in new age media. On the other hand having respectful discussions with the public via social media on your professional social media page as an opinion journalist is a good idea- you are doing your job! Just be sure to not cross over into abuse, it is important to be conscious of who your public is and what you are saying to them.

Check out this article from the Miami Herald for some information and insight on journalists reporting via social media in a potential incentive ways and how the public perceived it.

What’s the Bandwidth for Democracy? Deconstructing Internet Penetration and Citizen Attitudes About Governance

A chat with the researcher, Dr. Elizabeth Stoycheff of Wayne State University’s Journalism Department.

“It’s a simple fact, democracies require democrats. If you want to have a democracy you have to have citizens in that democracy that are willing to participate in politics,” as said by Dr. Elizabeth Stoycheff in regards to what her favorite thing about her research project, What’s the Bandwidth for Democracy? Deconstructing Internet Penetration and Citizen Attitudes About Governance is.

Dr. Stoycheff’s description of her research.

The research was published in a journal called Political Communication, and is about citizen attitudes regarding democracy in developing countries. It is measured by how many internet users a country has, the bandwidth speed used to upload and download information as well as how many computers do they have in their country. The study was aimed to find out which of those three ways of measurement is the most important when determining citizen attitudes in a country.

Dr. Stoycheff is a survey researcher whose research falls under the category of quantitative social science. Dr. Stoycheff used survey methodology, but she did not collect the data herself because the research spanned over 28 countries. She took a secondary data analysis but taking surveys that other professionals had conducted with the most rigorous methods in the field and analyzed that data. She was able to find the data through academic think tanks sites such as the Q research center.

Dr. Stoycheff stated that broadband penetration is what matters most for citizens in developing democratizing countries to lean towards democratic thinking. This is due to the fact that ability to participate in political discussions, watch political debates or news requires a very high amount of broadband.

Dr. Stoycheff’s favorite thing about the research project.

To learn more about Dr. Stoycheff’s study please visit What’s the Bandwidth for Democracy? Deconstructing Internet Penetration and Citizen Attitudes About Governance.

Water as a Human Right: The Current Water Crisis in Michigan Panel Discussion

On Tuesday, November 4th I attended a three panelist discussion at the Wayne State University Law School Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium regarding the current water crisis in Michigan, which is mainly effecting the cities of Detroit, Flint and Highland park. The Wayne State Law School chapters of the National Lawyers Guild and Wayne Law’s American Civil Liberties Union Student Chapter hosted the “Water as a Human Right: The Water Crisis in Michigan” to inform Wayne State University Students of the current water crisis happening in the state surrounded by largest area of fresh water in the world, as well as to raise money to provide those effected by unsafe drinking water with water filters to make the drinking water safer. The event was very well put together and had about 75 audience members. It was wonderful to hear the insight of the experts on the current water crisis.

Map of the Wayne State University Law School

The Wall Street Journal Analysis

I chose to review the reputable and historical Wall Street Journal. I am an avid reader of the paper, and wanted to see how the journal measures up! 🙂

The Wall Street Journal is a print and digital news platform that has been in circulation since 1889. It employs over 2,000 journalists in 85 news bureaus across 81 countries. The headquarters is in New York City, and it is currently owned and operated by the Dow Jones and company. The journal is in both print and digital that covers breaking news, alerts, live streaming, blogs, opinion columns and video content.

It is financed through reader subscriptions. An introductory subscription is $12 for the first 12 weeks. That includes a 6 day paper delivery and tablet edition, web access, and smartphone app access. There are other packages with different rates depending on what access you want to the platforms offered. There is also a student rate that is $15 for every 15 weeks subscribed as well as a corporate package.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media as of September 2013 The Wall Street Journal’s readership included 2.3 million print and digital subscribers.

Isabella’s thoughts:

I like that the web addition of The Wall Street Journal is laid out like an actual newspaper. There is not much blank space, because there are links to stories everywhere. It is not crowded with advertisements and does not hurt my eyes. The Wall Street Journal does not use much social media included in the stories aside from a sidebar in each story that gives readers access to log into their desired social media page and share stories. There are icons at the bottom of the site for the Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages. There are two sections in each story that allow readers to log in and comment on the story. The author’s name is hyperlinked to an email address to write to them.

Click the link below to read the story on how financial regulator Thomas Curry raised a red flag on auto lending.