If you are a lover of the arts and have not checked out Google Arts & Culture, you simply must. It is a great online resource for exploring artists, places, people and so many other things that contribute to global arts and culture – and it is very cool.

Also cool, is Google Arts & Culture’s Kansas City project. Google Arts & Culture partnered with several KC arts institutions to create an online resource showcasing the great city’s arts and culture scene and heritage

Check out Google Arts & Culture’s Kansas City project here.

Explore Google Arts & Culture here.

FF: The Blue Linen Bag from Boon Supply

Just in time for hauling all of your summer things from the car to the beach (or from wherever to wherever) I found the Blue Linen Bag from the fine folks at Boon Supply.

About the Blue Linen Bag from Boon Supply:

“This shoulder bag is roomy for whatever the day brings. Its simplistic and elegant design makes it a faithful companion throughout the entire day. Available in 3 colors.”

Find the Blue Linen Bag from Boon Supply here.

Visit Boon Supply online here.

FF: The Andy Warhol Banana Tote Bag from the Guggenheim Store

Meanwhile, if you want something a little more artsy to carry to those summer farmers’ markets and fairs, you can’t go wrong with the Andy Warhol Banana Tote Bag I found from the fine folks at the Guggenheim Store – the retail outlet of the great Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

About the Andy Warhol Banana Tote Bag from the Guggenheim Store:

“Carry this bag in style! The Andy Warhol Foundation Banana Tote Bag from Galion features Warhol’s iconic yellow banana image and signature on one side and stylish thin black sailor stripes on the other side. This awesome bag also includes 3 different limited-edition pins: Banana, Andy Self Portrait, Camouflage with the quote, ‘Art is what you can get away with’. There is also a secondary hang tag attached which is a facsimile of an Andy Warhol art store receipt.”

Fine the Andy Warhol Banana Tote Bag from the Guggenheim Store

Visit the Guggenheim Store online here.

It is that lovely time of year when the nights are still cool but the days warm up quickly with the late spring sunshine. But it is also that time of year when it is hard to balance the temperature inside your house as you don’t really need to turn on either the heat or the air-conditioning. Which is why I like having a portable fan around to help move the air when necessary. Of course I like an efficient fan that has a cool look – something like the Classic Black Table Fan I found from the fine folks at Schoolhouse.

About the Classic Black Table Fan from Schoolhouse:

“Finally, a table fan that befits deliberate décor. Featuring a clean, simple design, this timeless oscillating fan comes with a three-speed rotary selector and an eight-foot power cord.”

Find the Classic Black Table Fan from Schoolhouse here.

Visit the fine folks at Schoolhouse online here.

When I first moved to the Kansas Prairie (just across the river from the great city of Kansas City, MO) I was interested in learning more about local history. Coming from New England I was used to the history of the area from the Pilgrims to the Revolution. There was a lot to learn about Kansas and its relatively short “American” history. So I was fascinated to learn that in 1541 Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado arrived in present-day Kansas in search of gold. That’s 80 years before Plymouth Rock and like 280 years before Lewis and Clark came through the same area. I was surprised how few of my new friends had heard of this part of local history.

It turns out this is only part of it, there is whole lot of history with Spanish roots that we have somehow forgotten. Which is why the great book, El Norte – The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson, is such a welcome revelation.

About El Norte – The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson:

El Norte chronicles the sweeping and dramatic history of Hispanic North America from the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century to the present—from Ponce de Leon’s initial landing in Florida in 1513 to Spanish control of the vast Louisiana territory in 1762 to the Mexican-American War in 1846 and up to the more recent tragedy of post-hurricane Puerto Rico and the ongoing border acrimony with Mexico. Interwoven in this stirring narrative of events and people are cultural issues that have been there from the start but which are unresolved to this day: language, belonging, community, race, and nationality. Seeing them play out over centuries provides vital perspective at a time when it is urgently needed.”

El Norte – The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

I use an electric kettle just about every day. The one I have now is at least ten years old and it is serviceable. It is great because it can heat up water rapidly – much faster than a pot on the stove. But my kettle is due for an upgrade and there is only one option I am considering – the Retro Style Electric Kettle I found from the fine folks at Russell Hobbs.

About the Retro Style Electric Kettle from Russell Hobbs:

“Sleeping in on a rainy day, laughing with friends, sipping a warm cup of tea – it’s the smallest pleasures that bring us the biggest enjoyment. Now you can experience the simple joy of a Russell Hobbs Retro Style Electric Kettle. Whether you’re new to electric kettles or have been enjoying them your entire life, you’ll fall in love with the innovative features of this charming kettle. Not a tea drinker? Quickly boil water for oatmeal, hot cocoa, French press coffee, or instant soup and more. The retro-style design adds timeless beauty to any kitchen, no matter your kitchen style. Features like durable stainless steel construction with a pull-off lid, drip-free spout, and cool-touch handle make it as practical as it is elegant. The water temperature gauge on the front of the kettle simplifies the process of heating water to precise temperatures. The water level gauge on the rear of the kettle shows markings up to 1.7L, and the inside of the kettle features level markings for quickly boiling 1-3 cups of water. Additionally, the removable anti-scale filter helps prevent mineral buildup from passing through the spout. Enjoy the perfect cup, at the perfect temperature every time. It’s that simple.”

Find the Retro Style Electric Kettle from Russell Hobbs here.

See all the cool additions for your kitchen from Russell Hobbs here.

I have managed to gather quite a collection of salts in recent years – too many to count these days. I have almost as many varieties of salt as I have bourbons. I have been known to present a salt bar at dinner parties, but I have always worried about presentation. As my nana used to say: “every good salt deserves a good salt cellar” (sic).

Well this is where the fine folks at Dejumo come in…

…they offer all manner of fine housewares including a large collection of Cellars.

I like the Dejumo’s Teak Square Cellar with spoon (right).

Find the Cellar collection from Dejumo here.

Visit Dejumo online here.

I have been meaning to post about two European retailers I fell in in love with on my last visit to the continent: the fine folks at Pylones and HEMA.

FF: Pylones

When you walk in to one of French retailer Pylones’ shops your eyes are treated to a kaleidoscope of colors from their various lines of useful products. Think of water bottles, tape dispensers, hairbrushes and glasses cases with the same fun print – just very cool designs for everyday objects.

About Pylones:

“Immerse yourself in the world of Pylones and enjoy colours, ideas, attractive and useful creations. For over 30 years, Pylones has been reinventing everyday objects with a design full of good humour! Desk lamps, kitchen utensils, fashion accessories, furniture, decorations, watches… a breath of originality invades your home! And since Pylones does not miss anything about design, it offers a sparkling collection of blown glass jewellery, made in France.”

Pylones’ products make great gifts – in fact I did a bunch on my Christmas shopping at the Pylones shop on Carnaby Street in London last year.

Visit Pylones online here.

FF: HEMA

Meanwhile, the fine folks at HEMA, a Dutch retail chain, have stores that offer a little bit of everything, and I mean everything. However, everything they offer, from dog treats to housewares, is useful and cool.

About HEMA:

“Everyone at HEMA shares a passion: to make daily life easier and more fun. That is also expressed perfectly in the essence of the HEMA brand, a triangle that symbolises the ideal balance between good quality, good design and great prices. Each side of this triangle is equally important and together they form an extraordinary combination that results in a number of the characteristics that make HEMA unique.”

When I popped into the HEMA store in Lille, France last fall, I had a fantasy about leaving my whole life behind, starting over, and furnishing my new European flat exclusively with stuff from HEMA.

Visit HEMA online here.

Fans of Lost Cowboy know that among the many searches I have going on, the longest one is the search for the perfect bag to carry my stuff back and forth to the office and beyond. Well, the search may be narrowing with a new leader in the clubhouse – the Vintage Leather Messenger Bag I found from the fine folks at WP Standard.

About the Vintage Leather Messenger Bag from WP Standard:

“The Vintage Messenger bag is a tribute to antique postal bags updated for modern function. The messenger bag includes two interior pockets and one suede-lined laptop compartment with a strap to secure your devices. Our full grain vegetable tanned leather provides a foundation that will age beautifully with time and use. Custom monogramming is available.”

Find the Vintage Leather Messenger Bag from WP Standard here.

See all the styles from WP Standard here.

It’s been a while since I read some fiction, so what a relief it was for me to pick up The Story of Arthur Truluv – A Novel by Elizabeth Berg – which reminded me of why I love to read. This is the refreshing, uplifting story of those people one meets in life that are just supposed to be there. Two people, who on paper never should be friends, find each other in their grief and a special bond forms.

About The Story of Arthur Truluv – A Novel by Elizabeth Berg:

“For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname ‘Truluv.’ As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.”

The Story of Arthur Truluv is the type of book that renews your love for reading as it renews your faith that there is good in the world.

The Story of Arthur Truluv – A Novel by Elizabeth Berg is available from Amazon and fine booksellers everywhere.

 

 

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