Archive for January, 2018

I’m still going through my Christmas gifts. By the way, isn’t it strange that just a few weeks after Christmas it is like it never happened? Oh well, I guess that is what makes it a very special holiday. Anyway, one of the best gifts I received was the really cool Pets Rock puzzle made by the fine folks at Ceaco – fine makers of puzzles right here in the USA.

About Ceaco:

“Welcome to Ceaco! We are so grateful that you have found your “fit” here. Since our start in 1987 we have remained true to our mission: To create high quality, innovative and challenging jigsaw puzzles and to provide hours of family fun. We pride ourselves on developing and maintaining long standing relationships with some of the finest artists of our time. Our talented team of designers and marketing professionals are always searching the world over for developing trends, emerging artwork, and new technologies involving printing, die cutting, and unique puzzle materials. Our purpose is clear: to continue to be in the forefront of our industry and create a product that combines family entertainment with a distinctive aesthetic.”

Check out all the cool puzzles from Ceaco here.

I seldom feature business books here, but I do read quite a few of them. Sadly, most of them are not very interesting and they seem to just repackage old ideas of business management using some metaphor. So it was with a bit of apprehension when I approached Herding Tigers by Todd Henry. As one who often uses the old expression “it is like herding cats” when describing a challenging effort at the office, this title attracted me straight away. And as a person who manages a team of creative people, Mr. Henry’s background was perfect for me.

About Herding Tigers by Todd Henry:

“Leading talented, creative people requires a different skill set than the one many management books offer. As a consultant to creative companies, Todd Henry knows firsthand what prevents creative leaders from guiding their teams to success, and in Herding Tigers he provides a bold new blueprint to help you be the leader your team needs. Learn to lead by influence instead of control. Discover how to create a stable culture that empowers your team to take bold creative risks. And learn how to fight to protect the time, energy, and resources they need to do their best work.”

Unlike the authoritative bosses of days gone by when pure power could be used to “lead”; today’s workplace requires a more nuanced approach to effectively lead other – and this book offers the perfect plan to help you do that.

Herding Tigers by Todd Henry is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

Well, with the Super Bowl coming up in just a few weeks, of course my mind turns to crafting – as the tradition for my peeps is to have a “Craft Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday where we hang out, make crafts, watch the commercials, and even the game.

While thinking about crafts for this year, a memory stirred. When I was a kid we had a neighbor who made string art – string strung between nails on wood – and was a true artist. I tried my hand at string art in the past and was not very good at it. But now I have found the DIY String Art Bicycle Kits from the fine folks at String of the Art and I am ordering it for this year’s Craft Bowl.

About the DIY String Art Bicycle Kit from String of the Art:

“This DIY String Art Bicycle Kit is a one-of-a-kind design ready to be strung up for display in your home.  The DIY Kit’s 16″ by 12″ wood board is hand sanded and hand stained dark walnut.  Every kit includes only the highest quality embroidery floss. And there is plenty of extra string necessary to complete your crafts project.  The instructions give a step-by-step description of how to recreate the Bicycle String Art pattern you see in the photos.  The crafting kit also includes a pattern template.”

Find the DIY String Art Bicycle Kit from String of the Art here.

See all the cool string art kits from String of the Art here.

FF: Zum Glow Soy Candles from Indigo Wild

I was pleased to receive a Frankincense & Myrrh-scented candle from a colleague as a holiday gift. The candle turned out to be part of the Zum Glow Soy Candle collection from the fine folks at Indigo Wild – located right here in Kansas City.

About the Zum Glow Soy Candles from Indigo Wild:

“Whether you’re rocking tin or votive, Zum Glow puts on a hell of a show. All-natural soy wax and lead-free wick burn cool, low, and slow for a flaming set list and encore lasting over 20 hours. Soy wax also keeps it clean for all audiences. No paraffin wax means no carcinogens clouding your atmosphere.”

See all the Zum Glow Soy Candles from Indigo Wild here.

FF: The Scented Candles from Nest Fragrances

Decidedly more upscale is the Holiday Classic Candle from the fine folks at Nest Fragrances I received from another colleague. No disrespect to colleague A or the fine folks at Indigo, but the Nest candles are awesome.

I love Nest’s Linen Classic Candle:

“Imagine the aroma of freshly laundered linens billowing in a summer breeze against a backdrop of delicate blooms. Notes of apple blossom and white orchid enhance the fragrance with a hint of floralcy. It is an experience that can only be described as refreshingly crisp.”

See all the classic candles from  Nest Fragrances here.

 

I’m still curating my Christmas gifts and I have been having fun with one of the coolest things I received – this Cat Bike Bell from the fine folks at Suck UK. I think this this is so cool I had actually purchased the same bell for my sister-in-law as a gift. So yeah, I was happy to receive one of my own and I can’t wait to put it on my bike and get out there this spring. In the meantime, I will just be ringing it around the house for no good reason and taking in the hip packaging.

About the Cat Bike Bell from Suck UK:

“There’s no substitute for a good old-fashioned bicycle bell when you really want other people to get out of your way. The Cat Bike Bell uses centuries old, tried and trusted technology – A compact brass bell with a sprung thumb lever. Good and loud and guaranteed to startle even the most oblivious dog walker. Warn other road users before cat-astrophe strikes! A great gift for feline obsessed cyclists – you know who you are!”

Find the Cat Bike Bell from Suck UK here.

See all the cool things – and I mean really cool things – from Suck UK here.

There was a time in my youth when I devoured every Stephen King novel. My mother was a big fan and when I was in high school I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. There are several classics by Mr. King, but none more creepy than his masterpiece It. There was a television miniseries based on the book, and just last year a big screen version – the latter much better than former. But better than both by far is the original book, and I highly recommend it – either for the first time, or rediscover it like I did.

About It by Stephen King:

“Stephen King’s terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, ‘a landmark in American literature’ (Chicago Sun-Times)—about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It. Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.”

You will be as thrilled to rediscover Mr. King as you will be truly chilled to the bone.

It by Stephen King is available from Amazon and other fine book sellers.

I don’t even know where to start with today’s find – the Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider Caramel I found from the fine folks at Fat Toad Farm. Dude, bourbon and goat milk caramel? Come on!

About the Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider Caramel from Fat Toad Farm:

“For the Caramel Adventurer!  Fat Toad Farm’s  Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider Caramel is made with Stowe Cider and it will bring your caramel experience to a whole new level. This smooth, dry, bourbon-forward cider is the perfect compliment to our creamy, not-too-sweet goat’s milk caramel sauce. This Vermont collaboration will spruce up your family’s pumpkin pie recipe and leave everyone asking for seconds. Or pair it with a Vermont sharp cheddar at your holiday party. Just add a drizzle on Butter Pecan ice cream or add a healthy dollop on roasted squash and enjoy. We promise it will not disappoint! Fat Toad Farm’s velvety goat’s milk caramel sauces (Cajeta) combine creamy caramel richness with the subtle tang of goat’s milk to create an utterly unique, not-too-sweet dessert sauce perfectly paired with ice cream, fruit, and cheeses.”

Find the Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider Caramel from Fat Toad Farm here.

Learn more about Fat Toad Farm and see all their fine products here.

Peaches and onion together? Yep, and it is awesome. Well, the Vidalia Onion and Peach Relish from the fine folks at Pickled Pink is awesome at least.

About the Vidalia Onion and Peach Relish from Pickled Pink:

“Fresh Southern Peaches, and diced Sweet Georgia Onions make this relish a hit that’s full of flavor, and fun.”

This stuff works great as a glaze for a roast pork loin. I like cooking pork loins with cut up peaches and then adding the relish as a condiment when serving or even using it as a light glaze on top of the loin while roasting the last few minutes.

Find the Vidalia Onion and Peach Relish from Pickled Pink here.

Learn more and see all the fine products from Pickled Pink here.

The holidays are over, and as much as we love the season, it is nice to get back to the normal day-to-day which makes you appreciate the special times even more when they pop up again. But I like to keep little hints of the holidays throughout the year. One way I do this is I make mini Thanksgiving dinners a couple of times throughout the year. And what Thanksgiving would be complete without a special cranberry sauce, like the Original Cranberry Sauce from the fine folks at Wild Thymes?

About the Original Cranberry Sauce from Wild Thymes:

“This delectable combination of cranberries and fresh oranges & lemons is light, yet bold and makes the perfect accompaniment or glaze to all kinds of poultry, meats, game and even fish. Enjoy it over Brie as a delicious and simple hors d’oeuvre. Mix it into your chicken or turkey salad or try it as a sandwich spread. Enjoy it over toast, muffins and scones or as a dessert topping.”

This is so much better than the congealed can-shaped stuff you grew up with – and so versatile when used like a jam or a condiment.

Find the Original Cranberry Sauce from Wild Thymes here.

See all the good things from Wild Thymes (I love puns) here.