Archive for August, 2019

Should you be in the market for a cake to celebrate the birthday of someone special on a day like, let’s say today, you could do no wrong with the Superhero Birthday Cake from the find folks at Konditor. Only one problem – you would have to take said birthday boy to London to collect the cake. I have a feeling he would accept the gift unconditionally.

About the cakes of London’s Konditor:

“Our cakes are hand-made, and they’re as delicious as they are beautiful. We put our heart and soul into choosing superb ingredients which are tastier and better for both you and our planet. We’re also a bit obsessive about attention to detail, whether that’s piping the most beautiful wedding cake or serving a gorgeous cup of coffee.”

You go to love a place with the motto: “joy through cake”!

Find the Superhero Birthday Cake from Konditor here.

Visit London-based Konditor online here.

I found the perfect candle to burn when I am indulging my inner Rhett Butler – the Gunpowder Candle from fine folks at South Candle.

About the Gunpowder Candle from South Candle:

“With its sensuous, earthy blend of aged oak and warm vanilla bourbon, the Gunpowder Candle is perfect for any southern gentleman. Burn this candle year round and you will always be reminded of the south. The Gunpowder Candle is garnished with a cotton boll.”

Find the Gunpowder Candle from South Candle here.

Visit South Candle online here.

FF: The Talbott Hotel in Chicago

This summer when I took a little city break in Chicago, I stayed at the lovely Talbott Hotel, a small – but big on service – hotel just steps off of Michigan Avenue in one of the city’s swankiest hoods. I loved everything about the place – the room was nice and big with every convenience you could need. But it was the service and the pleasant interactions I had with just about everyone on the staff that won me over. And you can’t beat the location.

About the Talbott Hotel in Chicago:

“Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast Historic District, our newly renovated hotel is ranked ‘best of’ by many travel sites. It’s perfect for those who appreciate the impeccable, the refined, and the clever, all delivered with an elegant wit. Just steps away from the iconic Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue, our hospitality is for guests who savor the finer things but are not interested in formality. Talbott Hotel is defined by its timeless modern architecture, well-appointed yet comfortable décor, and exceptional personalized customer service.”

The Talbott Hotel is located at 20 East Delaware Place in the great city of Chicago, USA.

FF: The Hudson New York

Meanwhile, in the middle of New York, heck right in the center of everything, is a nice oasis called The Hudson, a big city hotel that will make you feel incredibly hip. The Hudson is just cool. The kind of place that is so well designed you just feel special being there. Among other great amenities, The Hudson’s bar, The Library, is a hip hangout while having an old school feel. Simply put, The Hudson is a great place to stay while in the big city.

About The Hudson New York:

“An energetic social hub filled with urban adventure and daredevil design, Hudson, A Morgans Original, takes convention and turns it on its head. Born from the innovative vision of design impresario Philippe Starck, Hudson, a New York boutique hotel, is stylish, democratic, young at heart and utterly cool. Located in midtown, just steps from Central Park, Columbus Circle Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center and the theater district.”

The Hudson New York is located at 358 West 58th Street in the great metropolis that is New York, NY.

Finishing up my posts about my nice midsummer trip to New York – it was more than just epic walks, river cruises, Broadway shows, and a great hotel – there was food and drink with great friends.

Literally top of the list was The Roof, a great bistro on the roof of the Le Méridien hotel on West 57th St. This great spot has stunning views of Central Park and was the perfect place to grab an early afternoon drink with my NYC friends. But it is also open well into the wee hours and must be great at night. But make a reservation, it does fill up.

About The Roof:

“Capping the top of Le Méridien New York, Central Park, Gerber Group’s The Roof is an alluring lounge and covered terrace that offers guests a perch to take in the city’s energy and soaring views of Central Park. Fashioned by renowned design firm Roman and Williams, the space evokes the aesthetic of a yacht complete with ipe floors, brass details, custom walnut-and-leather sofas and thoughtfully curated images of sky, sea and clouds by famed photographer Dalton Portella. The menu features an expansive collection of small-batch spirits, craft beers, global wine offerings and a rotating selection of Gerber Group’s classic and modern cocktails that highlight market fresh ingredients, complemented by small plates.”

The Roof is located atop Le Méridien New York, 124 West 57th Street, 29th Floor, New York, NY.

The Roof must be pretty special – I was inspired by the setting (and maybe the peer pressure) to day drink for the first time ever!

Meanwhile, farther downtown in the West Village, The Spotted Pig offers a great setting for a meal or as a respite from the bustling metropolis. Try the chicken liver toast. No. Really!

About The Spotted Pig:

“It’s a testament to the kitchen’s prowess that a decade after opening, The Spotted Pig still boasts waits of an hour and a half for a table—even on a Monday evening. April Bloomfield and her business partner Ken Friedman have since gone on to open multiple buzzworthy restaurants like The Breslin, but their original gastropub still pulls in regulars and pilgrims who know a proper pint and a plate of high quality comfort food are well worth the wait.”

The Spotted Pig is located at 314 West 11th Street, at Greenwich Street, New York, NY.


I am getting super stoked for my upcoming late summer vacation to beautiful Cape Cod. As if I need reminding of the Cape’s timeless beauty, I have been referring to the work of iconic naturalist Henry David Thoreau who wrote about his visits there. You can find Thoreau’s writings in many books and even online for free. However, I enjoyed the treatment his works received in Cape Cod – Illustrated Edition of the American Classic by Henry David Thoreau with photography by Scot Miller.

About Cape Cod – Illustrated Edition of the American Classic by Henry David Thoreau with photography by Scot Miller:

“Originally published in 1865, Henry David Thoreau’s Cape Cod is a wonderfully written, surprisingly funny account of nineteenth-century life on the Cape well before it became a major tourist attraction. To this day, many people consider it the best book ever written about Cape Cod. This new illustrated volume features the complete text of Thoreau’s classic work as published in Houghton Mifflin’s 1906 edition, the stunning photography of Scot Miller, and a foreword from the preeminent Thoreau biographer, Robert Richardson. Many of the lush color photographs show elements of the landscape that Thoreau would have seen: the great beach, imposing cliffs, sand dunes, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, beach grass, seaweed; others reflect the unique personality of Cape Cod and its people today, including local artists and architecture. The combination of Thoreau’s timeless text and Miller’s exquisitely reproduced color photographs make this an indispensable book for anyone who loves Thoreau’s writing or Cape Cod.”

Seeing the landscapes Thoreau wrote about brought to life in photos put the work into perspective, and makes you appreciate how blessed we are to have the so much of the same landscape Thoreau saw preserved as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Cape Cod – Illustrated Edition of the American Classic by Henry David Thoreau with photography by Scot Miller is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

Read Henry David Thoreau’s musing on Cape Cod here.

Visit Cape Cod National Seashore online here.

In addition to meeting up with a couple of great friends, the primary purpose of my little New York getaway was to catch up on a few Broadway shows. I planned my trip around seeing King Kong – as I am a huge fan of the big guy and had read that the stagecraft was phenomenal. I also wanted to check out how Broadway treated one of my top ten film favorites of all time, Tootsie, which has also been turned into a musical. And finally, yeah, three Broadway shows in three days, I was dying to check out the brand new musical, Moulin Rouge, yep, also based on the movie of the same name. I sense a trend.

About King Kong on Broadway:

“The epic modern myth of King Kong is brought roaring to life on Broadway through an innovative mix of robotics, puppetry, music and stagecraft. In the grip of the Great Depression, New York City is a place of pressure, of desperation, but also of hope. Enter Ann Darrow, a fearless young actor with a will of steel and dreams that reach as high as the just-completed Empire State Building. After a brutal struggle just to stay on her feet, Ann finds her big break in the form of Carl Denham, a fast-talking filmmaker who promises to make her the star of his next big adventure movie. Throwing caution to the wind, she joins Carl on a voyage to the mysterious Skull Island. There, they encounter a wonder more astonishing than they could have possibly imagined: a 20-foot-tall, 2,000-pound ape known only as Kong. To her surprise, Ann finds an unexpected kindred spirit in this magnificent, untameable creature.”

Hurry, King Kong ends its run on August 18th at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway at W. 53rd St. in New York, NY.

About Tootsie on Broadway:

“2019 Tony Award winner Santino Fontana delivers ‘one of the best performances ever seen on a musical stage’ (Rolling Stone) in the show critics are calling ‘the most uproariously funny new musical comedy to hit Broadway in years!’ (The Hollywood Reporter). This New York Times Critic’s Pick tells the story of Michael Dorsey, an out-of-work actor willing to do anything for a job — even if it means playing way against type. When he disguises himself as an outspoken actress named Dorothy Michaels, he defies all odds to become a Broadway sensation. But as audiences fall for Dorothy and Michael starts to fall for the woman of his dreams, he’s learning that the hardest part of show business isn’t getting to the top… it’s keeping up the act. With a Tony-winning book by Robert Horn, a score by 2018 Tony winner David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), choreography by Denis Jones and direction by Scott Ellis, TOOTSIE is “a triumphant comedy, as outlandishly successful as The Producers” (Chicago Tribune). Don’t miss ‘the winner Broadway has been waiting for!’ (The Washington Post).”

Tootsie is enjoying an open run at the Marquis Theatre, 210 W 46th St, on New York’s Great White Way.

About Moulin Rouge on Broadway:

“Freedom! Beauty! Truth! Love! Broadway! Baz Luhrmann’s beloved 2001 film Moulin Rouge! comes to Broadway, with a cast including Tony winner Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit, and six-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein. Directed by two-time Tony nominee Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! has a book by Tony winner John Logan (Red), choreography by Sonya Tayeh (Kung Fu), and music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Justin Levine (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Set in Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France at the turn of the century, a world of indulgent beauty and unparalleled extravagance, of bohemians and aristocrats, of boulevardiers and mademoiselles, Moulin Rouge! The Musical tells the fictional story of an ambitious, lovesick writer, Christian, and a dazzling, entrancing chanteuse, Satine. Their lives collide at the Moulin Rouge with its many characters including the host of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler, the brilliant and starving artist Toulouse-Lautrec, the greatest tango dancer – and gigolo – in all of Paris, Santiago, the tempting Nini, and The Duke of Monroth, the wealthy and entitled patron of the club who thinks he can buy anything he wants, including love.”

Moulin Rouge just started what promises to be a long open at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W 45th St, New York, NY.

My two cents:

King Kong: The critics were right – spectacular effects and stagecraft, but weak book and forgettable songs. But, and a very big but, seeing Kong come alive on stage was worth the trip and the ticket.

Tootsie: If you can park the classic film and view the play for what it is and the art form, then you are in for a delightful evening at the theater. The original cast is first rate and the book is so funny I think it may have been better to make it a straight play.

Moulin Rouge: Unlike Kong and Tootsie, Moulin Rouge improves upon the source material, reinventing it for a new generation. From the moment you walk into the theater you are immersed in the setting and when the show starts you are swept away to 19th century Paris. For sure the best of the three shows I saw on this visit.

On my recent long weekend trip to New York I set out to make the most of it and not waste any time. So after a very early flight from Kansas City, I hit the ground running. After checking into The Hudson (the super hip hotel just west of Columbus Circle on W58th Street) I made my way across town to catch the subway downtown. I can handle the New York subway pretty well if I don’t have to make any dicey transfers. This one was simple, a straight line from midtown down the 6 (On the 6 Jo-Lo style) to City Hall pretty much where the promenade to the Brooklyn Bridge starts. (The fountain at City Hall Park, right.)

After a little touring around the area I headed for the bridge. Now, I knew walking over the bridge was a thing, I just didn’t realize how much of a thing it was. It was a nice warm sunny day and there were thousands of others out to do the same walk, with scores of street vendors lining the approach selling everything from food to keychains.

There is a walkway suspended above the traffic that is divided into bicycle and walk lanes. The walk is slow at first but as the crowds move across the span towards the first tower it spreads out. On the approach to the first of the bridge’s two iconic towers laced with its web of steel cables, the foot traffic stalls again as people stop for photos. I loved seeing people embracing this historic landmark even as I was hoping for a more tranquil walk.

The walk across the center span provides spectacular views of the lower Manhattan skyline and you can see all the way out to the Statue of Liberty in the Harbor. It was a real kick to final walk this historic bridge I had read about and admired for years.

On the other side of the bridge, in the area of Brooklyn known as Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) – the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges come close together here, is a funky little area where industrial holdovers meet hipster hangouts. It is a short walk back towards the river and under the bridge where you are treated to a truly great place – Brooklyn Bridge Park – a stunning piece of billion dollar real estate providing stunning views of lower Manhattan, all the way to the Statue of Liberty and of course the East River and the bridges themselves. I really loved this place and will undoubtedly return.

Faced with the return trip to Manhattan I opted for the East River Ferry, which runs from Wall Street to Brooklyn and Queens, before ending at 34th Street in the shadow of the U.N. complex. The ferry was a real treat. It was a gorgeous day and an excursion on the river with stunning views (above) was much better than a stuffy subway ride. BTW – the ferry fare was less than $3 – a true bargain.

It was a long day after waking up super early to catch a flight – but only having 72 hours in the city – it was great to get out and make the most of it. After this little outing – no rest for the weary – it was time to get back to the hotel to clean up for a night of theater on Broadway.

Learn more about the Brooklyn Bridge here.

Check out the NYC Ferry system here.

FF: The Holztiger Wooden Whale from Luna & Curious

Meant to be a child’s toy, I think the Holztiger Wooden Whale I found from the fine folks at Luna & Curious, is a worthy work of art and perfect for your summer décor.

About the Holztiger Wooden Whale from Luna & Curious:

“Beautifully hand carved and hand painted Whale. Holztiger toys are made in Europe using sustainably sourced wood, individually handcrafted out of maple and beech wood and painted using water colours.”

Find the Holztiger Wooden Whale from Luna & Curious here.

Visit Luna & Curious online here.

FF: The Felt Orca Whale from RE

Meant perhaps to be a Christmas ornament, the Felt Orca Whale I found from the fine folks at RE Found Objects would hang in my house year round.

About the Felt Orca Whale from RE Found Objects:

“Hanging felt Orca decoration, with beaded eyes and a friendly grin! Part of our range of felt decorations.”

Find the Felt Orca Whale from RE Found Objects here.

Visit RE Found Objects online here.

I love enamelware, and I love the fine folks at Falcon Enamelware – I am currently coveting their Bake Set – available in five colors.

About the Bake Set from Falcon Enamelware:

“A five-piece enamelware bake set, capable of handling anything from a whole roast turkey to a summer BBQ.”

But of course I covet just about everything from Falcon.

About Falcon Enamelware:

“Originally manufactured in the Black Country area near Birmingham, England, Joe Kleiner & Sons created the original enamelware brand, distinctively ice-white with the blue rim, the classic design is still instantly recognisable to this day. In 2011, the original collection was revitalised – creating new colours and cookware sets along with increasing the gauge of the classic mug, making the products more durable and hard wearing.”

Find the Bake Set from Falcon Enamelware here.

Visit Falcon Enamelware online here.