Archive for June, 2015

WAYThe mission of the folks at Feeding America is quite simple – they seek to help feed the hungry across America.

About Feeding America:

“Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. The Feeding America network of food banks is leading the fight against hunger in communities nationwide. Together with individuals, charities, businesses and government we can solve hunger.”

Learn more about Feeding America and how you can help here.

FF: The Monogrammed Croquet Set from Mark & Graham

CROQThe perfect summer lawn game is croquet, and the perfect croquet set is the Monogrammed Croquet Set I found from the fine folks at Mark & Graham.

About The Monogrammed Croquet Set from Mark & Graham: “Whether you’re looking to recreate scenes from classic ’90s films (‘Your turn, Heather’), Alice in Wonderland or just bring some iconic and elegant game play to your backyard, this set is for you. Add a name, date or ‘beach house’ to the wooden box and get ready for a day of croquet. Set includes four wooden mallets, balls and spikes; four flags; and metal hoops, all contained in a wood box. Free monogramming is laser-engraved.”

Check out all the monogrammed products available from Mark & Graham here.

FF: The Bocce Ball Set from 11Main

bocceOK, so I actually think bocce is the best summer lawn game – which makes the Bocce Ball Set I found from 11Main the perfect find.

About Bocce Ball Set from 11Main: “Summer time will is here and what better way to get outside and have some fun than with this quality bocce ball set. This beginners set comes with four dark green and four dark red bocce balls and one Pallino. The entire set is enclosed with a durable carrying case to keep your new favorite game all together. Bocce Ball, one of the oldest forms of lawn bowling, is a game for young and old. Originating in Italy it is becoming wildly popular worldwide.”

Check out all the great products of 11Main here.

NEARI have often thought how bizarre it was to travel to another state or country only to find that the postcards and souvenirs you see there are made in other places.  Most notably, for the longest time there was a large postcard printer in Boston, where I lived for many years, and when I would go to place like, say, Chicago, the postcards I bought there were printed in Boston.

Well, the fine folks at SouveNEAR – right here in the great city of Kansas City, MO feel the same way I do – that when buy a trinket to remember your trip to somewhere special you would prefer to have that item come from that place – not made in China.

About SouveNEAR: “Scrambling through the last few precious moments of a great vacation to find a little something to take home to someone we love. Or to the friend who fed the cat. We want something unique, something that really represents a city we have come to love, something stylish and fun. We rush in to the souvenir store only to settle for something generic—produced far away and destined for the back of a drawer. It struck us as a little sad that so many souvenirs offer only the name of a city—and none of the story, none of the spirit. Wouldn’t it be great if our souvenirs were created in the same place our memories were? SouveNEAR seeks out and showcases local artists who capture the vision of their cities. Partnering with these talents, we curate our favorite items and also commission new works that are designed and produced locally.”

Check out the KC products of SouveNEAR here.

EPSTEver since The Beatles came onto the scene more than half a century ago there has been a whole industry around them that goes way beyond their music and the indelible mark they left on our culture. In that time there have been many books written and many figures in their sphere have been labelled as “the fifth Beatle.”

Perhaps no one has more claim to that title than Brian Epstein, the guy who more or less discovered the Fab Four and managed to help make them the icons that they became. However, behind that glittering success is a backstory as compelling as the movement he help promote. Mr. Epstein was troubled by personal demons and ultimately died way too young. Now, Mr. Epstein’s story is being told in the wonderful graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary with illustrations by Andrew C Robinson.

About The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary with illustrations by Andrew C Robinson: The Fifth Beatle is the untold true story of Brian Epstein, the visionary manager who discovered and guided the Beatles—from their gigs in a tiny cellar in Liverpool to unprecedented international stardom. Yet more than merely the story of ‘The Man Who Made The Beatles,’ The Fifth Beatle is an uplifting, tragic, and ultimately inspirational human story about the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Brian Epstein was homosexual when it was a felony to be so in the United Kingdom, Jewish at a time of anti-Semitism, and from Liverpool when it was considered just a dingy port town. He helped spread the Beatles’ message of love to the entire world, yet died painfully lonely at the young age of thirty-two, consumed by staggering ambition and the endless struggles that came with it. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, The Fifth Beatle not only reveals an important, unsung chapter in the history of the Beatles—but it will inspire anyone who’s ever dared to believe in a dream.”

One may think that the graphic novel genre is not a serious medium. However, in the very capable hands of author Vivek J. Tiwary and illustrator by Andrew C Robinson, The Fifth Beatle brings Mr. Epstein’s story to life in a way that is fitting for a man whose story need to be told and whose contributions must be remembered.

The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary with illustration by Andrew C Robinson is available from Amazon and fine book retailers everywhere.

Read more about The Fifth Beatle here.

linusI always feared that I would turn into the male version of a crazy cat lady. The good news is that I am currently in possession of only one ill-tempered cat. The bad news is that I may turn into a crazy bicycle man – as I have two great bikes and keep wanting to buy more.

The fine folks at Linus Bikes make it really difficult for someone like me to keep things in check, as I love all of their products.

About Linus Bikes: “Inspired by French bicycle design of the 50s and 60s we have created a bicycle that preserves the simple elegance and pure form of that golden era, but has all the benefits of modern comfort and reliability. LINUS is the utilitarian city bike… simple and reliable, but with a personality and style that makes you feel like you’re in an old French movie… you’re floating a little from the wine you drank at lunch… maybe instead of going back to the office you’ll take a nap under a tree, go for a swim in the sea or drop by your lover’s house… At Linus we see bicycles not only for recreation and sport, but as a legitimate form of transportation. In our everyday life we take numerous little journeys, under 5 miles…. to the store, the cafe, to work, etc. Besides the obvious joy of riding a bicycle, these small bicycle trips reduce carbon emissions, congestion, noise pollution, and make for a happier, more connected city experience.”

Specifically, I love Linus Bike’s Roadster Classic (above right): “This stripped down, elegant ride is the bicycle in its purest form. A simple, clean profile inspired by French and Italian cinema from the 50’s and 60’s.”

Learn more about Linus Bikes here.

forn1The fine folks at Min New York (“an Atelier and a Sensory Gallery”) offer a fine collection of fragrances from all over the world, but none better than the Fornasetti Profumi Collection.

About Fornasetti Profumi: “Piero Fornasetti was a Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator, engraver of books and a creator of more than 11,000 products. In terms of decorative output, Fornasetti’s production of objects and furniture is one of the most prolific of the 20th century. Fornasetti is celebrated as being one of the most original creative talents of the last century. During his long career he perfected his art and made use of a rich visual vocabulary that is instantly recognizable and constantly engages. Fornasetti designed a magical dream world, saturated in richness of imagery and filled with whimsical humor.”

The Fornasetti Profumi Collection includes great products like the Burlesque Classic Candle by Olivier Polge (above right): “‘Otto’ is the signature scent that was created by the master perfumer Olivier Polge, working in close collaboration with Barnaba. He captured the essence of Fornasetti by exploring the olfactory character of the family house and gardens, registering significant herbs and the woods of the interior. In the final scent, notes of thyme, lavender, orris and cedarwood evoke the personal environment, while ethereal incense notes at the base interpret the dream-like dimension of Fornasetti’s graphic poetry.”

forn2…and the Bacio Incense Box (right):

“‘Otto’ is the signature scent that was created by the master perfumer Olivier Polge, working in close collaboration with Barnaba. He captured the essence of Fornasetti by exploring the olfactory character of the family house and gardens, registering significant herbs and the woods of the interior. In the final scent, notes of thyme, lavender, orris and cedarwood evoke the personal environment, while ethereal incense notes at the base interpret the dream-like dimension of Fornasetti’s graphic poetry.”

Check out the Fornasetti Profumi Collection from Min New York here.

See all the collection of Min New York here.

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I snapped this picture last month while up at the old homestead in New Hampshire and I love it.  I joke that I have photographic evidence of the answer to the long-asked question: why did the chicken cross the road?  To get away from the cat of course.

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FF: The Sake Bath from Fresh

ff4I don’t drink sake and I don’t take baths, but the Sake Bath I found from the fine folks at Fresh has me questioning my stance.

About Sake Bath from Fresh: “Sake Bath is a purifying soak comprised of over 50% detoxifying sake that works to ease body tension and promote relaxation while leaving the skin incredibly soft, smooth, and moisturized. The delicately foaming formula was inspired by ancient beauty rituals of Japanese Geisha who were known to use sake to purify and soften their skin, and its luxurious lush scent comes from their tradition of infusing baths with real persimmons.”

Find all the great health and beauty products from Fresh here.

FF: The Adé Cushions from Darkroom London

ff5I like a good pillow when it is called a cushion – like the Adé Cushions I found from the fine folks at Darkroom London.

About the Adé Cushions from Darkroom London: “The Adé cushions are a classic Darkroom design, even pre-dating our Lamb’s Conduit St store! We carefully handpick each playful African print from London-based suppliers of genuine Hollandaise fabrics. Please note, slight runs and inconsistencies are a natural outcome of the wax printing process.”

Check all the high-design of Darkroom London here.

FF: The Classic Sling Chairs from Serena & Lily

ff6Nothing says summer like a good beach chair. There are many great styles of chairs out there, but none as cool as the classic sling chair – like the Classic Sling Chairs I found from the fine folks at Serena & Lily.

About the Classic Sling Chairs from Serena & Lily: “A laid-back favorite, our classic sling pairs a sleek teak frame with weather-friendly fabrics in a range of solids and patterns – so you can withstand the elements in style, season after season. Over time, teak will take on a silvery grey patina, giving your chair a look that’s full of character.”

Check out Serena & Lily’s 2015 Summer Collection here.

Check out all the great home furnishings of Serena & Lily here.

g2In my last update on my container garden, I covered the transfer of my seedlings into containers. Now, just a few short weeks later I am happy to report that my plants are doing well. I have some baby peppers already and several blooms on my tomato plants. Despite some drenching rain storms here in Kansas in the past month, it looks like my container garden is off to a productive start.

Here’s a gallery of a few shots of my garden – click on the thumbnail to see the full photo.