Archive for February, 2013

blackThe fine folks at Blackbird, a hip purveyor of men’s furnishings, offer a few “vintage” items on their website.

Currently featured on the site is this really cool Alt Heidelberg Jumbo Extra Pale Beer bottle (right), described as: “Extremely large Classic 1935 10 inch tall Alt Heidelberg Jumbo Extra Pale Beer bottle with “Student Prince” label from Tacoma, WA Colombia Breweries Inc. Thick amber colored glass and a piece of beer and American history that would look fantastic as a display piece. Set this on a shelf alone or use it as a vase.”

Also on the site is a tool box (below), described as: “Painted red Metal tool box with a slightly raised lid, small metal handle, large main compartment that is perfect for an assortment of tools or supplies, and a front latch closure”

I love the fact that Blackbird values this toolbox at $125. Yes you read that correctly. If I can get prices like that on this type of item then yours truly will be retiring very soon.

blackbox

See the Blackbird Vintage collection here.

Check out all of Blackbird’s fine men’s clothing and accessories here.

churchI have read a ton of books about Word War II, most of them about the Battle of Britain and the wartime exploits of one Winston Churchill. After years of reading books about historical events that have been very well covered, it is rare to read something new and surprising about particular topics.

However, my latest Weekly Ready – Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table by Cita Stelzer – is a refreshing new look at one such much covered subject. In this wonderful new book, Ms. Stelzer invites us into a part of Churchill’s life that has been previously uncovered and shows us interesting and surprising insights into the political workings of the man during his finest hour.

About Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table by Cita Stelzer: “A colorful and eloquent look at Churchill as he has never been seen before. With fascinating new insights into the food he ate, the champagne he loved, and the important guests he charmed, this delectable volume is a sumptuous and intellectual treat. A friend once said of Churchill ‘He is a man of simple tastes; he is quite easily satisfied with the best of everything.’ But dinners for Churchill were about more than good food, excellent champagnes and Havana cigars. ‘Everything’ included the opportunity to use the dinner table both as a stage on which to display his brilliant conversational talents, and an intimate setting in which to glean gossip and diplomatic insights, and to argue for the many policies he espoused over a long life.”

In addition to the serious issues Churchill and his war cabinet were dealing with, this book is full of anecdotes that humanize its subject in ways that I have never found before. Tales of Churchill’s use of table utensils to replay an historic battle, for example, not only shows his great knowledge of military history but just how amazing dinner with the man must have been.

Churchill has always been high on my list of historical figures that fascinate me. However, after reading Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table, the next time someone asks the classic question: “if you could have dinner with any figure from history living or dead who will it be?” – I have my answer.

Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table by Cita Stelzer is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

CAULDI have spent most every day this winter sitting by a blazing fire set in my old school cast iron stove and I have loved every minute of it. I also love having a fire outside. It is still a little too cold to sit outside even with a fire, but soon it will be outdoor fire season and I have found the perfect way to enjoy it – with a fire pit from the Cowboy Cauldron Company.

About the Cowboy Cauldron Company: “Cowboy Cauldron Company makes the world’s most beautiful, versatile and durable fire pits & grills. A stunning architectural feature, each Cowboy Cauldron fire pit is hand made in the USA, giving those who insist upon authentic craftsmanship the perfect combination of timeless quality and rugged sophistication. Nothing else even comes close. Cowboy Cauldrons are made of exceptionally thick pressed steel, and are built to last not years, but generations. The Cauldron’s suspended design radiates heat in all directions, extending your outdoor season by weeks – even months. An instant hit with chefs, architects, designers, and discriminating individuals nationwide, the Cauldron will change the way you live and entertain.”

I can totally see myself setting up one of these cauldrons in the last days of the snow cover before the mud take over – with a tumbler of bourbon in one hand and a cigar in the other.

Check out the Cowboy Cauldron Company here.

STAPLERWhen we were cleaning out my parents’ house a couple of years ago, we found something like 37 staplers. We kept count as we were amused there were so many. I remember a childhood where my mother’s stapler was something that was not touched without permission. We found that stapler and its two dozen plus siblings and used it as an illustration of how my parents had a little bit of the hoarding gene within them.

I will admit that I chose one of the staplers to keep, and I do use it from time to time. However, the stapler I kept, and none of the other staplers found in the house, are nearly as cool as the colorful staplers from Poppin.

About Poppin: “Poppin believes you should be able to surround yourself with objects of beauty everywhere you go and in everything that you do. Whether you are making grocery lists, taking notes at the latest TED conference, or pitching the next big account, you should be able to do it with a smile and style. This is why we exist. Poppin is chock-full of people with a crazy-passion for this stuff. We love tape dispensers, file cabinets, and the way a new notebook sounds (and smells) when you turn the cover for the first time. What we don’t love is the selection out there. Why should the tools-of-the-trade be dressed up in drab and dreary? Why does the customer experience always have to be lousy? So, we decided to change the way people work.”

See all the cool products from Poppin here.

BCSI love simple recipes that have a few really good wholesome ingredients and are really more about assembling than cooking. I also love simple recipes that contain more than one of my favorite foods brought together in a new and exciting way.

Well, I am pleased to say that today’s recipe includes all of these conditions – this recipe for Broccoli and Chickpea Salad I found in Whole Living magazine.

I love broccoli and chickpeas and this recipe celebrates both in a way I never would have thought to bring together before.

I made this salad with only a few minor substitutions (I don’t care for pine nuts) and it was delicious. Even though it was the middle of winter when I made this salad, I ate it with cold chicken and it was nice lunch. Now I can’t wait for summer when this will really be a perfect addition to any meal.

Find the Broccoli and Chickpea Salad recipe from Whole Living here.

Visit the Whole Living website here.

ASTI love little plates and trays. I have many. I have a dozen or so dessert plates featuring various versions of Andy Warhol’s iconic image of Marilyn Monroe. I have a skull and cross bone tray and a tray with the New York skyline on it – among many others.

Over the years I have used these small plates and trays for their intended purposes, as well as for wall art. I just stumbled upon these Alphabet Studio Trays from Rosanna, which I think would make a great wall art installation – picture rows of four or five laid out in a Brady Bunch style mosaic – very cool.

About the Alphabet Studio Trays from Rosanna: “Enjoy the eclectic type of times gone by with individually boxed trays that are both decorative and food safe. Whether you pick an initial or spell or word, Alphabet Studio is giftable and adorable. (Letters A-Z; Symbols !, @, $, &, and ?)”

See all the great products of Rosanna here.

A few weeks ago I presented a series of quick finds centered around things that could help us enjoy the balance of the winter season (especially those of us up here in the snow belt). Many of you mentioned that you like the posts that featured a few “finds” at a time.

So, starting this week, and with inspiration borrowed from my friend Lynda’s blog, I am starting a new weekly post: Friday Finds.

Each Friday I will be presenting a collection of Lost Cowboy’s signature Finds that may otherwise not have made their own posts. Some weeks there may be a theme, but for the most part the featured finds will be as eclectic as the rest of the week. Enjoy!

FF: The work of artist Elly MacKay

FF1I have featured similar artists in the past, but there is something special about the innocent and whimsical illustrations of Elly MacKay that makes me happy.

About Elly MacKay: “My work often tells a moment in a story, and often plays with the themes of childhood, and the ephemeral. I look to my own childhood, my experiences as a mother, Victorian curiosities, vintage book illustrations, set design, and the land and weather here. At times I work on a larger scale, creating installations. In the future I hope to do some animation as well.”

Visit Elly MacKay’s website here.

FF: Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm by Erin Byers Murray

ff2I have written about the culture of oysters many times before, mostly due to my love of Wellfleet, MA, a famous center of oysters in New England – which is why this book turned my head:

About Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm by Erin Byers Murray: “In March of 2009, Erin Byers Murray ditched her pampered city girl lifestyle and convinced the rowdy and mostly male crew at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Massachusetts, to let a completely unprepared, aquaculture-illiterate food and lifestyle writer work for them for 12 months to learn the business of oysters. SHUCKED is part love letter, part memoir and part documentary about the world’s most beloved bivalves. An in-depth look at the work that goes into getting oysters from farm to table, SHUCKED shows Erin’s full-circle journey through the modern day oyster farming process and tells a dynamic story about the people who grow our food, and the cutting-edge community of weathered New England oyster farmers who are defying convention and looking ahead. The narrative also interweaves Erin’s personal story—the tale of how a technology-obsessed workaholic learns to slow life down a little bit and starts to enjoy getting her hands dirty (and cold). This is a book for oyster lovers everywhere, but also a great read for locavores and foodies in general.”

Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm by Erin Byers Murray is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

FF: The SVT-RS40 Collection of watches from Tsovet

FF3This Find needs no explanation… I just love fine watches.

About the SVT-RS40 Collection of watches from Tsovet: “Early aviators relied on timepieces as flight instruments to aid in navigation and planning. The need to synchronize second hands with radio time signals and then coordinate these readings with compasses and flight charts was a daunting task. Because the first navigator and aviator watches utilized larger pocket watch movements, they were oversized and cumbersome devices. Effortlessly operating this indispensable tool was always obstructed by shortcomings in design. As onboard avionic instrumentation advanced and reliance on timepieces as backup instruments declined, pilots still found a need for their timepieces no matter how much sophisticated equipment surrounded them in the cockpit.”

Check out the SVT-RS40 Collection of watches from Tsovet here.

FF: Shackleton Whiskey

ff4What would my first collections of Friday Finds be without a post about bourbon or whiskey? Shackleton Whiskey is a great find as it refers to the most interesting history of the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition which always fascinated me.

About Shackleton Whiskey: “In June 1907, the Glen Mhor distillery in Inverness, Scotland, received an order from the famous explorer Ernest Shackleton for a total of 46 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt – one of the more indulgent items included among the provisions designed to sustain his British Antarctic Expedition of 1907.”

 Check out more about Shackleton Whiskey here.

FF: The Wellfleet Sea Salt Company

FF6Finally today, the Wellfleet Sea Salt Company, a great story of young entrepreneurs harnessing two of my favorite things: salt and Wellfleet, MA.

About the Wellfleet Sea Salt Company: “The sea and sunshine: that’s all we need. Wellfleet Sea Salt Company was born from the waters of Cape Cod. Our salt is as pure and simple as life on the Cape, the way it should be. We don’t add anything because nothing could be better than what the ocean gives us. Our salt is natural, eco-friendly, and has a flavor all its own. Bring home a dash of Cape Cod and experience natural flavor in every crystal.”

Visit the Wellfleet Sea Salt Company shop here.

owenI have a trip to London planned for March, which I am excited about and look forward to posting about here. I am so excited that I have already started packing. Which makes today’s post perfect: the Custom Leather Luggage Tags from Owen & Fred.

About the Custom Leather Luggage Tags from Owen & Fred: “Something different for the frequent flyer: a custom made leather bag tag. Stylish, durable, and an excellent, unboring gift. Your fully customizable leather luggage tag comes complete with a stainless steel cable clasp so that it attaches solidly to your bag. Each tag is 3 1/2 inches long by 2 inches high — the perfect baggage tag size. The tag is stamped by hand in the United States, and the leather is premium vegetable tanned leather. Listen, we can’t guarantee your bags won’t get lost by the airline, but we can guarantee someone will find them using this fully customizable leather bag tag.”

These luggage tags are really classy and make a great gift for your favorite traveler.

See all the luggage tag options of Owen & Fred here.

ELSEI have more favorite books than favorite authors. The only authors whose work I have totally devoured are John Irving, Roald Dahl, George Orwell, Nick Hornby and Dashiell Hammett. And as a teenager I read every Mickey Spillane book back to back one summer when I was supposed to be shelving books at one of the largest university libraries in the world. Ironic I suppose, working in the stacks of a great Ivy League institution’s main library I was reading the most common of pulp novels.

Anyway, this preamble is all to say that one other author whose entire output of work I have read and enjoyed is Richard Russo. Mr. Russo’s Mohawk and Empire Falls are two of the novels that have impacted me most in my adult life.

Mr. Russo’s latest work is not a novel, but a memoir, entitled Elsewhere: A memoir, and it is positively brilliant.

About Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo: “After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape. Anyone familiar with Richard Russo’s acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon.”

I have always enjoyed the memoir genre and truly believe that everybody has an interesting story to tell. Take a gifted novelist and have him write his real-life observations and you have the recipe for a perfect read. I enjoyed every page of Elsewhere: A Memoir and have come away with a greater appreciation for a man and an author I already admired.

Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

TEDDYYou probably already have a George Washington and an Abe Lincoln bobblehead in your collection. So on this Presidents’ Day, may I suggest you add this Theodore Roosevelt Bobblehead to your display?

The Theodore Roosevelt Bobblehead is just one of the many Roosevelt items available from the shop of the American Museum of Natural History.

The AMNH shop includes a large section of Teddy Roosevelt items like the bobblehead and this somewhat less cheeky bust of the 26th president of the United States.

Learn more about President Theodore Roosevelt on the American Museum of Natural History website here.