Archive for September, 2020

One of the great surprises of my summer reading this year was finding the works of Nick Spalding. Something akin to one of my favorite authors, Nick Hornby, Mr. Spalding captures contemporary life brilliantly and hysterically. In his novel, Dumped, Actually, Mr. Spalding explores life after love and moving on throught the lens of a website writer who shares his experiences with the world. This is not fine literature, but it is great entertainment and a joy to read.

About Dumped, Actually by Nick Spalding:

“When Ollie Sweet is very publicly dumped by ‘The One’, his seemingly perfect world dissolves into misery, self-pity, and a bizarre rooftop meeting with a suicidal man in flip-flops. While most would seek out the support of loved ones at such a torrid time, natural-born journalist Ollie asks the subscribers of his website: how did they get over their failed relationships? When Ollie follows some of their more extreme advice, chaos inevitably ensues, including accidentally exposing himself to some unsuspecting wildlife, jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane, and suffering from an extremely painful bottom, courtesy of a maniacal Scotsman. Of course, all of this goes down a storm with his online following, and Ollie soon finds himself the centre of everyone’s attention – whether he likes it or not! With his eclectic collection of supporters to guide him, can Ollie mend his broken heart, heal his broken bottom, and learn to find happiness again?”

Dumped, Actually by Nick Spalding is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

There are few things I like more than something that is classic and modern all at the same time. I love the look of mid-century radios and think they are great to have on a mantle just as a piece of art. But when you can have the look of an old school radio with the benefit of Bluetooth technology you have the best of both worlds. This is exactly why I fell in love with the OTR Retro Radio Speaker I found from the fine folks at Muzen.

About the OTR Retro Radio Speaker from Muzen:

“OTR, or ‘On The Road’ series is made for the generation inundated by endless social media, dreaming of times when life was purer. The colors are reminiscent of the Americana period dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. MUZEN OTR Metal series produces an orchestral sound quality, despite its size. Designed and crafted for a life on-the-go, with DNA in convenience and beauty, each portable MUZEN OTR Metal comes with a unique carrying case that allows ease of movement.”

Find the OTR Retro Radio Speaker from Muzen.

Viset Muzen online.

I have to say from the outset that I love my SodaStream sparkling water maker, which is something I use every day as I drink a ton of sparkling water. I love it even more since I found SodaSense, a service that allows you to sent back your empty gas canisters and have them replaced automatically by mail – kind of like NetFlix in the early days. All that said, I have fallen in love with the supremely elegant Sparkling Water Maker from the fine folks at Aarke – which marries function with the best of Swedish design. And who isn’t all about Swedish design these days? Am I right?

About the Aarke Sparkling Water Maker:

“We have designed the Aarke sparkling water maker from the inside out to become extremely compact. This is one of the secrets behind its good looks. Despite it’s compact design, the Aarke machine features a unique safety system consisting of 3 independent safety valves. The lever both carbonates the water and automatically releases the pressure in the bottle. Just push the lever and hold it until you hear a buzz, then release it and unscrew the bottle from the machine.”

Find the Aarke Sparkling Water Maker.

Visit Aarke online.

Sadly, the days are getting shorter which means my outdoor vegetable and herbs garden’s days are numbered. As sad as it is to see the outdoor growing season come to an end, it means new beginnings and my thoughts turn to growing things inside. The fine folks at Gardenuity have scores of ways to help me with my indoor garden this year, like their Culinary Herb Garden kit.

About the Culinary Herb Garden from Gardenuity:

“Long considered nature’s most treasured gift, herbs have been playing a big part in kitchens, offices, homes and lives for centuries. They bring a myriad of practical uses, and having fresh herbs at the ready is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether you are harvesting a mint leaf for your iced tea or a bunch of rosemary to put in your floral bouquet, herbs bring a freshness to any space. Gardenuity makes having fresh herbs in abundance simple and seamless for the experienced and novice gardener.”

Find the Culinary Herb Garden from Gardenuity.

Visit Gardenuity online.

As documented in these pages, my vegetable garden this year is not a robust as some of my past gardens, but it is still chugging along.

In addition to all the basil, rosemary, mint, and sage I could ever use, I still have tomatoes ripening on the vine (right), and a bunch of different varieties of peppers finally coming in (below).

I should have some spicy salads in my near future.

Did someone say cheese? Well, I love just about every cheese I have ever had. But I have a special fondness for goat cheese. I especially love a nice goat cheese this time of year paired with fresh figs. I was in heaven when I found the La Petite Tomme from the fine folks at Saxelby Cheesemongers – which pairs well with just about anything, or nothing at all.

About the La Petite Tomme from Saxelby Cheesemongers:

“A creamy, buttery little disc of goat’s milk brie cheese from Vermont’s original goat lady, Laini Fondiller. When young, La Petite Tommes are mushroomy and tangy, when aged they become more gooey, goaty and sweet. Either way you slice it, they’re one of our favorites, and a stalwart in the Lazy Lady Farm repertoire.”

Find the La Petite Tomme from Saxelby Cheesemongers.

Vist all the awesomeness of Saxelby Cheesemongers online.

The fine folks at 42 Pressed are keeping the fine art of letterpress alive and well and they produce some amazing things. Their Roam collection features maps of great cities and they are all masterpieces – like their Boston City Print – which brings back fond memories of the years I spent living in that great city.

About the Roam Boston City Print from 42 Pressed:

“Three color letterpress and shiny copper foil map print of Boston, MA. Printed and pulled by hand on 100 lb. bright white stock using one of our antique presses.”

Find the Roam Boston City Print from 42 Pressed.

Visit 42 Pressed online.

In these times when we are all trying to better understand our country’s past and how we are still struggling to come to terms with it, especially when it comes to race, it is a good thing when some of that past can be brought to light by a fine work of historical fiction. In Kelli Estes’ debut novel, The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, we are not only entertained by a compelling fictional narrative, we learn about the true history used as the story’s backdrop. Specifically, the discrimination against Chinese imigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, legalized by the Chinese Exclusion Act, something very few Americans know anything about. The book’s plot goes back and forth between that time period and the present day. As the story unfolds we learn about how the past and future come together with a lot of heartache and pain, but with moments of hope and joy.

About The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes:

“Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core―and force her to make an impossible choice.”

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

The fine folks at Candylab Toys make some really cool “toys” – but to me, what they really make are really fine pieces of art – little accents that would look good around your home. Take Candylab’s Candycar Yellow Taxi for example, the perfect thing to add a little whimsy to a window sill or the perfect reminder of your best trip to NYC.

About the Candycar Yellow Taxi from Candylab Toys:

“Part of our new Candycar line, a cute 3 inches long. Reminisce about the times when hailing a ride and elbowing out a stranger was required to get around NYC.”

Find the Candycar Yellow Taxi from Candylab Toys.

Visit Candylab Toys online.

As Lost Cowboy fans know, I love a good candle. And when a candle has a great aroma the evokes fond memories of times past, I love them even more. The Southern Roots Campfire Candle I found from the fine folks at Jackson Rose Candles is just such a thing – it will bring you back to those long autumn nights by the campfire telling stories and making s’mores.

About the Southern Roots Campfire Candle from Jackson Rose Candles:

“‘How do y’all get it to smell JUST LIKE A CAMPFIRE?!’ We hear it all the time. This one is almost as good as the real thing. Go ahead and unfold the camping chairs in your living room – we won’t judge. Smoky Hickory Wood + Roasted Marshmallow. Inspired by nights in the woods on Lake Lanier, Cumming, Georgia.”

Find the Southern Roots Campfire Candle from Jackson Rose Candles.

Visit Jackson Rose Candles online.