Archive for June, 2015

hockI am a big fan of artist David Hockney. I know I am not alone in this assessment as Mr. Hockey has been a superstar of the art world for many years now. I have been fortunate enough to have seen a few major exhibitions of Mr. Hockney’s work and feel really special for having a chance to see them.

In the lovely book David Hockney: A Yorkshire Sketchbook, the artist shares an intimate portrayal of the landscape of his youth – the countryside of Yorkshire, England and it is delightful.

About David Hockney: A Yorkshire Sketchbook: “In recent years renowned artist David Hockney has returned to England to paint the landscape of his childhood in East Yorkshire. Although his passionate interest in new technologies has led him to develop a virtuosic drawing technique on the iPad, he has also traveled outdoors with a traditional sketchbook, an invaluable tool as he works quickly to capture the changing light and fleeting effects of the weather. Executed in watercolor and ink, these panoramic scenes have the spatial complexity of finished paintings—the broad sweep of sky or road, the patchwork tapestry of land—yet convey the immediacy of Hockney’s impressions. For those who know the East Yorkshire Wolds, the location of the sketches is unmistakable; for those who don’t, its features will come to life in these pages.”

The works of Mr. Hockney you may know are large modern pieces that evoke exaggerated landscapes or cool looking California poolsides. Here, in David Hockney: A Yorkshire Sketchbook, we are treated to the memories of an artist (Mr. Hockney is now 77 years old) reflecting on his life and displaying his raw talents as an artist.

David Hockney: A Yorkshire Sketchbook is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

jeff2The fine folks at distillers McLean and Kyne make the wonderful Jefferson’s Bourbon. I purchased a bottle of the fine Kentucky whiskey that is Jefferson’s a few years back and enjoyed it very much. I remember I saved the bottle because I liked the flat shape and the image of Thomas Jefferson embossed on the glass.

I had totally forgotten about the bottle until I spotted in on the sill of a window in the old New Hampshire barn when we were cleaning it out last month. I snapped this picture and thought it was pretty cool.

The sight of the old bottle made me want to try Jefferson’s Bourbon to help drown my sorrow for having to clean out that afore mentioned barn… but that’s another story.


About Jefferson’s Bourbon: “We make our bourbon in small batches, ridiculously small batches. This enables us to showcase the different flavors that result from the wood in each barrel, as in the case of single barrel bourbons. We maintain the consistency that is found in small batch bottling. It’s like making dinner for 8 friends rather than a group of 80 people. We bottle seven different varieties of bourbon and rye and are always experimenting with new blends and processes that challenge the conventional thinking of what bourbon and rye can be.”

Learn more about Jefferson’s Bourbon and where to find a bottle near you here.

BigI love C. O. Bigelow Chemists of New York, the “oldest apothecary in America.” I love the fine folks at Bigelow Chemists because they offer an amazing collection of health and beauty products, fragrances and related products – many hard-to-find and imported from exotic places. Best of all, in addition to Bigelow’s brick-and-mortar store at 414 6th Avenue in NYC’s Greenwich Village, they have a great online store.

About New York’s C. O. Bigelow Chemists: “Our landmark apothecary has been providing prescriptions, healing remedies, unique and unusual beauty products and hard to find apothecary items since 1838. C.O. Bigelow was initially founded by Dr. Galen Hunter. Originally called The Village Apothecary Shop, it was bought and renamed by Clarence Otis Bigelow in 1880. Mr. Bigelow worked alongside Dr. Hunter before taking over the shop. Part of our unique legacy has been the passing of ownership from employer to employee. Since 1939, three generations of Ginsberg’s have owned and operated the shop, passing from father to son to grandson. For nearly two centuries C.O. Bigelow has been providing customers with customized service and specialty products that truly make a difference in their lives.”

Bigelow Chemists offers great products like Marvis toothpaste (above right): “Marvis flavors are created by offsetting the aroma of mint, to provide the freshness you need, with innovative notes to offer you a long-lasting pleasurable taste sensation that can be different every day. The Marvis Formula: White, protected teeth, fresh breath all day long, helps prevent tooth decay, tartar and plaque. Intense, lively and unmistakable pleasure: the enticing peppermint flavour takes you to a new dimension of long-lasting freshness.”

big2…and Smith’s Original Famous Multi-purpose Salve:

“An Old Family Standby Since 1895, this world-famous salve has been re-discovered by Hollywood stars and makeup artists. Rosebud Salve is still a favorite to aid in the relief of chapped and dry skin, blemishes, diaper rash, and detergent burns. Rosebud Salve is also a wonderful lip moisturizer and natural looking lip gloss. It moisturizes dry lips, calms and heals irritation, and soothes the sting of minor burns.”

Visit the great Bigelow Chemists online here.

NANAToday’s recipe may seem like something you would expect in autumn, but it is great any time of year: the recipe for Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Sorghum I found in in Garden & Gun magazine.

The recipe, from chef Tandy Wilson of City House; in Nashville, makes for a fine meal on its own, or a perfect side dish.

About the recipe for Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Sorghum from Garden & Gun: “’In a Southern family, there’s always someone who makes one dish, one thing they’re truly great at,’ Wilson says. ‘These recipes tend to be ‘talked,’ passed down from cook to cook.’ That’s the case with the chef’s favorite sweet potato casserole, a dish inherited from his grandmother. Instead of the standard marshmallow topping, the recipe uses quintessentially Southern ingredients—peanuts and sorghum syrup, which is considered the maple syrup of the South. ‘I spent many days and nights at the countertop in my grandmother’s home, watching her cook, and over time, I developed a relationship with her dishes,’ Wilson says. ‘Now every year it’s my job to make Nana’s sweet potato casserole. Someday I will be making it for my own children.’”

Find the recipe Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Sorghum from Garden & Gun here.

Find all the awesomeness that is Garden & Gun here.

BeadThe mission of BeadforLife is to help women all over the world to ignite their potential and put them on a path to end poverty – something we can totally get behind.

About BeadforLife: “BeadforLife ignites sustainable opportunities for women to discover their own potential, whether it’s women in Uganda lifting themselves out of extreme poverty or women in the Global North finding meaningful ways to change the world. As an international non-profit organization, our staff members are located around the world in North America, Europe and Uganda.”

Learn more about BeadforLife and how you can help here.

FF: The Cabrio Lounge Chair from Bobby Berk Home

FF1I love the Cabrio Lounge Chair, a modern twist on the classic Adirondack chair that I found from the fine folks at Bobby Berk Home.

About The Cabrio Lounge Chair from Bobby Berk Home: “Cabrio Lounge Chair by Loll Designs. The Cabrio Lounge Chair is an innovative outdoor lounger. It sits low to the ground so an ottoman is unnecessary. The wide arms work well to hold a magazine and favorite beverage. And if all this wasn’t enough, Cabrio’s recycled construction, maintenance-free surface, durability and range of colors make it an all-around cool chair. Cabrio offers 100% relaxation, 100% of the time.”

See all the great products from Bobby Berk Home here.

FF: The Maker’s Mark Whiskey Truffle from Moonstruck Chocolate

ff2I am not a fan or chocolates and related confections, but I love Maker’s Mark bourbon, so am intrigued by the Maker’s Mark Whiskey Truffle I found from the fine folks at Moonstruck Chocolate.

About the Maker’s Mark Whiskey Truffle from Moonstruck Chocolate: “Milk chocolate ganache flavored with Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, featuring notes of vanilla, oak and smoke, hand-piped into a hand-painted dark chocolate crown shell.”

See all the great products from Moonstruck Chocolate here.

FF: Sea Aster Soap from Rare Device

ff3It’s basically summer, which means my mind has drifted out to sea, which a scary thing when you live in Kansas. Anyway, that is why I like the Sea Aster Soap I found from the fine folks at Rare Device.

About Sea Aster Soap from Rare Device: “A resilient little flower, the sea aster is rich with nutrients to strengthen the skin. The flower extract calms redness and sensitivity while promoting hydration. The scents of sea aster, seagrass and driftwood will totally relax you.”

See all the great products from Rare Device here.

mod1The fine folks at Modshop offer all sorts of cool vintage and vintage-inspired home furnishings that are very cool. Or as they say:

“Home furnishings and accessories for your soul.”

I particularly like Modshop’s collections of modern art and photography.

About the Modern Art Collection from Modshop: “ModShop offers hand painted works of art featuring cultural icons of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Whether it’s badass rock and rollers like Mick, celebrated athletes like Kobe, waif models like Twiggy, or glamorous film stars like Marilyn, each work of art gives a distinct vibe true to your individual style and personal taste.”

Modshop’s Modern Art Collection includes iconic mid-century pop culture images like McQueen Revolver (above right), featuring the ever-cool Mr. Steve McQueen, and Planet of the Apes Art with a super cool Cornelius from the epic film.

mod2Modshop also offers a fun selection of photography – mostly featuring vintage images like Top Off? (right) – featuring “swim suited revelers enjoy(ing) a glass of wine outside the Carlton Hotel, Cannes. 1958.”

Check out Mod Shop – and online resource for “home furnishings and accessories for your soul.”

See Mod Shop’s collection of Modern Art here.

See Mod Shop’s Photography collection here.

TABEToday’s read captured my attention just by its title, Turn Around Bright Eyes: A Karaoke Journey of Starting Over, Falling in Love, and Finding Your Voice. Seriously, how could any child of the 80’s pass up a book named after the epic Bonnie Tyler song?

Anyway, beyond the compelling title, author Rob Sheffield takes us on a wonderful journey of self-discovery and healing with popular music as the soundtrack. A follow-up to Mr. Sheffield’s memoir of loss, Love is a Mixtape, Turn Around Bright Eyes is one man’s story of coming to terms with love, loss and what happens when life gets in the way through the lens of music.

About Turn Around Bright Eyes: A Karaoke Journey of Starting Over, Falling in Love, and Finding Your Voice by Rob Sheffield: “’Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I’m always falling in love.’ When Rob Sheffield moved to New York City in 2001, he was a young widower trying to start a new life in a new town. One night, some friends dragged him to a karaoke bar—and that night turned into many nights in many karaoke bars. Karaoke became a way to be someone else if only for the span of a three-minute song, and through the sublime ridiculousness of karaoke, Rob began to find his voice. And then the unexpected happened. A voice on the radio got Rob’s attention. And the voice came attached to a woman who could name every constellation in the sky, every Depeche Mode B side, and could belt out a mean Bonnie Tyler. Turn Around Bright Eyes is a journey of hilarity and heartbreak with a karaoke soundtrack. It’s about finding the courage to move on, clearing your throat, and letting it rip—and how songs get tangled up in our deepest emotions.”

It is truly amazing how music can soothe our souls, make us remember times gone by and let us know everything is going to be alright. While Mr. Sheffield tells us his personal story we can’t help thinking about our own lives and how we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and persevere.

Turn Around Bright Eyes: A Karaoke Journey of Starting Over, Falling in Love, and Finding Your Voice by Rob Sheffield is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

fredI have found a store that is perfect for me – Rock Paper Scissors of Charlottesville, VA. (Don’t worry they have an online outlet as well.) Other than the perfect name, Rock Paper Scissors is a good old fashioned paper and stationery shop with a modern twist.

About Rock Paper Scissors: “Rock Paper Scissors is a custom invitation and paper goods shop with a sweet spot for letterpress located in Charlottesville, Virginia on the historic downtown walking mall. Frequented by designers and do-it-yourselfers alike, RPS offers a well-curated collection of greeting cards, sophisticated papers, stylish desk accessories, and modern gifts for every day. Don’t forget to visit the “Wall of Inspiration” to check out wedding invitations, stationery, business cards, invitations (bridal showers, baby showers, birthday, you name it…), and more. You, too, can aspire to make the Wall!”

In addition to a full line of stationery and custom printing products, Rock Paper Scissors features cool products like the 3d Moose Puzzle “Fred”: “100% PETA-approved laser cut moose cardboard puzzle. we think it’s man-tacular. And we’d like to find a good home for Fred. Designed and manufactured by cardboard safari.”

Rock Paper Scissors is located at 321 East Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia

but lucky for us the fine folks at Rock Paper Scissors have an online shop as well.

fab1When you think of fine Italian craftsmanship you may first think of leather, pottery or even wine. However, as home of some of civilization’s oldest culture, Italy is also the home of some of the finest papers. Yes, paper, paper products and everything that goes along with it. The fine folks at Fabriano has been making quality paper for 750 years and they are still going strong.

About Fabriano: “Since 1264 Fabriano has been synonymous with high quality paper, esteemed throughout the world and known to publishers, writers and artists. Indeed, although the invention of paper is traditionally ascribed to the Chinese and its introduction to the West attributed to the Arabs, the people of Fabriano must be given the credit for their ability to engender a true leap in paper quality and to make Fabriano the cradle of the production of modern paper.”

Fabriano produces fine stationery products like their…

“Nonsense Trio” of notebooks (above right): “Three machine-sewn notebooks tied together; cover in anti-fingerprint scratch-resistant card; 64 plain pages with a pocket on the inside of the back cover. Dedicated to Nonsense writer and illustrator Edward Lear, with part of the proceeds going to support ‘The Big Draw’, the world’s largest festival of design.”

fab3…and their Medioevalis notecards (right) which have been a bestseller for more than 100 years:

“Medioevalis is a high quality mould-made paper produced in Fabriano since 1904. Card with four deckle edges hand trimmed from watermarked sheets. Designed for personalized invitations and greeting cards.”

In addition to their fine paper product, Fabriano has a line of related products – like the really cool Fiorella Stapler (right):

“Mini stapler with colorful staples and floral print.”

Learn more about the history of Fabriano and see all their fine products here.