Archive for February, 2015

MARLThere are many places you can support that help find homes for homeless pets – but none as committed to saving dogs, cats (and others) facing death than the fine folks at Marley’s Pit Stop Rescue.

About Marley’s Pit Stop Rescue: “Marley’s Pit Stop Rescue was founded in June of 2002 when Marley, an adorable pit bull inspired a woman to reconsider the meaning of ‘Animal Shelter.’ Rescued on his ‘last’ day . . . Marley had no idea that he would go on to not only enjoy every single day of his life, but also motivate others to want to give the same gift to other companion animals. Marley’s Pit Stop is an all foster rescue network for more than 75 dogs, cats and bunnies who through no fault of their own find themselves homeless and facing death. As soon as one of our animals finds their dream home, we fill that spot with another animal in need.”

Learn more about Marley’s Pit Stop Rescue and how you can help here.

FF: The Classic Bike “Cuppa This Cuppa That Mug” from Ore’ Originals

CUPPAFirst up today is the Classic Bike “Cuppa This Cuppa That Mug” I found from the fine folks at Ore’ Originals.

About the Classic Bike “Cuppa This Cuppa That Mug” from Ore’ Originals: “Decorated with an embossed classic bike, The Cuppa This Cuppa That Mug is diner-inspired and holds one cup. This dinnerware-quality ceramic mug includes a twine-tied tag that doubles as a gift tag, making it gift ready for a friend, co-worker or favorite teacher.”

See all the “happy products for good people and pets” available from Ore’ Originals here.

FF: Bacon Soap

FF5Two words: Bacon Soap.

Boom! You’re welcome

About Bacon Soap: “This Bacon Soap looks like bacon and it smells like bacon, but it tastes nothing like bacon and will get you quite clean. Even your dogs will be delighted to get a bath in this realistic-smelling meaty slab o’ soap. Note: The slice marks are just imprints. It’s one solid bar. Formulated with an all-vegan combination of oils that is delightfully sudsy in the shower and leaves skin silky smooth and, if you wish, sooooo kissable (though we’re not getting all up in your boundaries).”

Bacon Soap is available from Bourbon & Boots.

FF: Yorkie Family Frame

EandSAnd finally today, you know you want one – the Yorkie Family Frame I found from E&S pets.

About the Yorkie Family Frame from E&S pets: “This family of furry friends are worthy companions for happy memories, and the handcrafted design will add pet-friendly charm to kids’ shelves or living room photo displays.”

Now you just need to figure out if you can live with just one.

Find your new favorite thing here.

FOXI heard a long time ago that needlepoint is a great activity to help reduce stress. In fact, many high powered executives and pro athletes (of both sexes) have taken up needlepoint over the years. I think about this every time I encounter needlepoint, which is surprisingly often.

However, I never really thought about taking up needlepoint myself until I came across the great needlepoint kits produced by the fine folks at Ehrman Tapestry.

About Ehrman: “Ehrman are famous for their superior-quality needlepoint kits, which are in demand all over the world. Recognized as the most imaginative and stylish around, Ehrman needlepoint is commissioned from leading textile designers, the most famous of whom is probably Kaffe Fassett.” For over 30 years Ehrman has pioneered this field of design and has gathered together a group of stitchers who between them have revolutionised the craft. Our designers continue to set the pace.”

I fell in love with this Fox Needlepoint Kit: “The kits include a 100% cotton canvas printed in full colour, all the yarns required (100% pure new wool), a needle and an easy to follow guide to get you underway.”

Learn more about Ehrman and see all their cool needlepoint designs and kits here.

VFWhen I was in college I worked in the stacks of one of the largest libraries in the world. I loved that job and I loved having access to millions of books and periodicals in the days before the internet brought it all to our fingertips. I spent a lot of my time looking at the bound volumes of old magazines. One of my favorites was Vanity Fair. I would sit for hours reading the magazine, perusing the advertisements and laughing at the cartoons.

Now, as Vanity Fair is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the editors are releasing all sorts of compilations from their huge catalog and I love it. In Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fair, we are treated to some great pieces from the golden age of the magazine and popular literature in the US.

About Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fair: “In honor of the 100th anniversary of Vanity Fair magazine, Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells celebrates the publication’s astonishing early catalogue of writers, with works by Dorothy Parker, Noël Coward, P. G. Wodehouse, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Gertrude Stein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sherwood Anderson, Robert Benchley, Langston Hughes—and many others. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter introduces these fabulous pieces written between 1913 and 1936, when the magazine published a murderers’ row of the world’s leading literary lights. Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells features great writers on great topics, including F. Scott Fitzgerald on what a magazine should be, Clarence Darrow on equality, D. H. Lawrence on women, e.e. cummings on Calvin Coolidge, John Maynard Keynes on the collapse in money value, Thomas Mann on how films move the human heart, Alexander Woollcott on Harpo Marx, Carl Sandburg on Charlie Chaplin, Djuna Barnes on James Joyce, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., on Joan Crawford, and Dorothy Parker on a host of topics ranging from why she hates actresses to why she hasn’t married.”

Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells is the type of book you can keep on the bed table and pick up any time and find something great to fill a few spare moments or many hours.

Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fair is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

UMBMy trip to Italy in 2011 was one of my most favorite vacations in the Lost Cowboy era. In particular, the glorious week exploring Umbria was a true highlight.

My urge to return to Umbria was reignited recently when I came across To Umbria – fine folks who offer specialty tours to Umbria, like the perfectly curated “Photography, Food & Wine Tour.” Noted food writer Suzanne Carreiro, and Master Photographer Murray Rockowitz, have teamed up to offer this great tour package and I am truly tempted.

About the “Eat, Drink and Make Photos in Umbria” Tour: “If you’ve been searching the internet for a great photography tour in Europe, your search is over. There are so many things that make our Photography, Food & Wine Tour and unique. First, it’s the only tour in Umbria lead by a master photographer AND an Umbrian cookbook author. Second, photography is woven into each days’ events–eating, cooking, sightseeing, tasting wine, plus lessons at the villa and individual consultations with Murray. You get to decide how much of your time you want to spend making photos. After all, who wants to travel all the way to Umbria to do nothing but listen to lectures and talk about photography? We bet you’d like to do a little shopping, eat great food, possibly learn to cook a few authentic recipes, and learn about the region’s wine, as well as see the region’s glorious architecture and enchanting landscape. While everyone will learn to improve their photos, Suzanne will make sure you have a rich cultural, food, and wine experience.”

Learn more about the “Eat, Drink and Make Photos in Umbria” Tour here.

See other tours and information about Umbria from To Umbria here.

…a gratuitous picture of The King, Clark Gable with his Academy Award for It Happened One Night in 1935:


…and a photo I took myself- the outside of the wonderful little jewel of a cinema – the Rio Theater in Overland Park, KS:


CHASEI support many charities dedicated to helping find cures for diseases that affect children and organizations that help provide medical services to kids. Today’s Way to Give Back is about a group dedicated to another aspect of children’s health – the Chase Foundation – committed to providing services to hospitalized children to ensure they can have the chance to be a kid.

About The Chase Foundation: “The Chase Foundation was founded in memory of Chase Richards by his loving family after he passed away at two-years old when cancer relentlessly took his life. All children deserve and need the chance to be kids. Child Life Specialists help hospitalized children realize their chance to be kids by providing for their social, emotional and developmental needs, helping them cope and improving their outcomes. Through the work of the foundation, Child Life programs have been expanded to reach more children—but there is still much work to be done. The Chase Foundation is dedicated to continuing its efforts to ensure that every child in a children’s hospital gains access to these programs.”

Learn more about The Chase Foundation and how you can help here.

FF: The Good Sleep Masks from Ore’ Originals

EYEI am one of those people that likes to wear a sleep mask on long air flights. I have a few masks, but they are all a variation of the traditional black mask. Now I have found something much better – The Good Sleep Masks I found from Ore’ Originals.

About the Good Sleep Masks from Ore’ Originals: “Perfect for home or travel, the Good Sleep™ Mask blocks out light so you can enjoy a quick cat-nap or maximize the benefits of a full night of deep, refreshing sleep. Makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys being whisked away to dreamland. Elastic strap fits most – do not over-tighten.”

I like the Bicycle Built for Two version.

See all the “happy products for good people and pets” available from Ore’ Originals here.

FF: The Chalkboard Vase from The Creative Home

FF4Meanwhile, my feeling that anything that you can turn into a chalkboard should be turned into a chalkboard is exemplified in this Chalkboard Vase I found from the fine folks at The Creative Home.

About the Chalkboard Vase from The Creative Home: “Designer Ricardo Saint-Clair likes to create pieces that foster communication and interaction (bingo!). His playful Chalkboard Vase from 2005 features a chalkboard front that can be used for drawings, messages and doodles of all kinds. But wait! That’s not all. The top of the bud vase houses a removable glass tube designed to hold water and flowers. A small hole on the side of the vase holds the chalk that comes with the vase. Chalkboard Vase was included in the 2012 show Destination: Brazil, a MoMA exhibit highlighting lifestyle products from Brazil.”

See all the great products from The Creative Home here.

KONG_2OK, so at the risk of resurrecting the discussion over my tendency for hyperbole…

Today I present the absolutely best Valentine’s Day gift I ever received – if not the best gift I have ever received.

This Kitchen Kong Whisk from Fred & Friends showed up at my door on Valentine’s Day as a gift from my dear friend Lynda. It was sweet of Lynda to think of me on that special day – but even better – she knows me well enough to know that this was the most perfect thing she could possibly have ever sent me.

About the Kitchen Kong Whisk from Fred & Friends:

“This little guy has actually taken up residence in a whisk just so he can be part of the action! Fred’s Kitchen Kong will make sure your batter is light and fluffy and your eggs are whipped up to perfection. It’s the highly evolved kitchen necessity! Stainless steel with cushioned silicone handle.”

See all the cool product of Fred & Friends here.

LIVEOver the past few weeks you could not get away from the coverage of the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live. As a lifelong fan of SNL, I was enjoying all the discussions and tributes to the classic television program and was reminded of the definitive chronicle of the show’s past 40 years, the wonderful book, Live From New York – The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.

This is a great book for anyone interested in the show itself or anyone who is curious about the creative process and popular culture. Live From New York is an oral history of the iconic television program and it is fascinating to see it all from a lens we rarely see.

About Live From New York – The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales: “Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, a rollickingly updated edition of Live from New York with nearly 100 new pages covering the past decade. When first published to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, Live from New York was immediately proclaimed the best book ever produced on the landmark and legendary late-night show. In their own words, unfiltered and uncensored, a dazzling galaxy of trail-blazing talents recalled three turbulent decades of on-camera antics and off-camera escapades. Now a fourth decade has passed—and bestselling authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales have returned to Studio 8H. Over more than 100 pages of new material, they raucously and revealingly take the SNL story up to the present, adding a constellation of iconic new stars, surprises, and controversies.”

Saturday Night Live is unparalleled in its influence on popular culture over the past four decades. Even if you were never a fan of the show itself, you have certainly become fond of one of the show’s performers or works by the talented writers and other artists who have gone on to influence other television shows, theater, music and film. This book will touch on what you think you know about SNL but will entertain and inform you about so much more.

Live From New York by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.