When my sister and niece invited me to join them in Paris for a little vacation next month, I declined as I had already planned a trip to London at the same time and made an investment in theatre tickets and such. However, I thought how I always wanted to take the Eurostar from London through the Chunnel and thought maybe they would be interested in meeting me in the charming city of Lille, France – about an hour north of Paris by train. They agreed. So, in a couple of weeks I will be on my way to London, via Boston, and will eventually make it to Lille for a side trip – so watch for all the reports right here.

In the meantime, I am studying up on Lille by doing all manner of research, but the single best source of information is the fabulous Lille – Bradt Travel Guide by Laurence Phillips.

About the Lille – Bradt Travel Guide by Laurence Phillips:

“Whether you decide on a Sunday-night tango with stranger in a Renaissance cloister, or order a bowl of onion soup at dawn, should you explore France’s best art collection outside Paris or head for the discount designer stores of the legendary flea-markets, if you share a sandwich with artists in an old post office building or discover the Michelin-starred chefs of tomorrow, a decade since Lille was first chosen as European Capital of Culture the city has not stopped partying since. Just as the city continues to re-invent itself with ever more exciting places to eat, to explore to relax and to stay, so the latest edition of the award-winning Bradt Guide keeps up with the changes and continues to share the secrets of the past, present and future of a capital of Culture, of Flanders and of Life.”

The Lille – Bradt Travel Guide by Laurence Phillips is available from Amazon and other find booksellers.

The last thing I really need is a bicycle wheel bar stool, but I find myself in love with the Charles Bicycle Wheel Adjustable Bar Stool I found from the fine folks at Dot & Bo.

About the Charles Bicycle Wheel Adjustable Bar Stool from Dot & Bo:

“For a whimsical touch to any room, add the Charles Adjustable Height Bar Stool. Complete with bicycle pedals, wheel, and weathered fir wood seat, the decorative possibilities are endless.”

Find the Charles Bicycle Wheel Adjustable Bar Stool from Dot & Bo here.

See all the great products for the home from Dot & Bo here.

OK, so you know how you find those places on the internet where you just start clicking and before you know it a few hours have gone by? Well I found one such diversion which will be more fulfilling than watching obscure cartoons on You Tube – the absolutely fabulous treasure trove that is the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

About the New York Public Library Digital Collections:

“The New York Public Library Digital Collections contains 746,645 items and counting. While that is a small fraction of the Library’s overall holdings, it is representative of the diversity of our vast collections—from books to videos, maps to manuscripts, illustrations to photos, and more.”

These images are great and diverse and just a whole lot of fun to look through. And even better, many of the images are in the public domain so you can use them freely.

Check out the New York Public Library Digital Collections here.

Meanwhile, my very own garden is surprising me every day. After a slow start, things are still popping out all over. I have a ton of late season tomatoes and peppers, while I should end up with some great eggplants as well.

I love stopping in the great Farmers’ Market in downtown Overland Park, KS – I am constantly impressed by the pure bounty of the Midwest growing season. On a recent visit I couldn’t help but stop to take this pic of all the great little tomatoes still on offer late in the season.

It may be Fall, but that just means a product with the word “Spring” in its name is bound to be on sale. Well, no matter the season, the Spring Planting Garden Tool Gift Set I found from the fine folks at Fisher Blacksmithing is something special – so cool they could be hung on the wall as works of art.

About the Spring Planting Garden Tool Gift Set from Fisher Blacksmithing:

“This set is perfect for both beginner and experienced gardeners. You’ll receive a large planting trowel, a square hand hoe, and a three-tined rake. I design and build each tool using traditional blacksmithing techniques here in Bozeman, Montana. The steel is heated to 1700 degrees in the forge, shaped over the anvil with a hammer, joined with solid steel rivets, and then set into hand-turned, Black Walnut handles. This process creates an heirloom quality garden tool that is unique, durable, and feels great in your hand! So if you’re shopping for a special person with an eye for high-quality traditional crafts and an interest in gardening, this collection is bound to make their spring planting a little brighter.”

Find the Spring Planting Garden Tool Gift Set from Fisher Blacksmithing here.

See all the great items (works of art) from Fisher Blacksmithing here.

I am not a vegetarian by any stretch, but I do like a good plant-based meal every now and then. The challenge for me is to be inspired, which is why I am happy I discovered the great On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox, with inspiration on every page.

About On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox:

“The highly anticipated cookbook from Jeremy Fox, the California chef who is redefining vegetable-based cuisine with global appeal. Known for his game-changing approach to cooking with vegetables, Jeremy Fox first made his name at the Michelin-starred restaurant Ubuntu in Napa Valley. Today he is one of America’s most talked-about chefs, celebrated for the ingredient-focused cuisine he serves at the Los Angeles restaurant, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. In his first book, Fox presents his food philosophy in the form of 160 approachable recipes for the home cook. On Vegetables elevates vegetarian cooking, using creative methods and ingredient combinations to highlight the textures, flavours, and varieties of seasonal produce and including basic recipes for the larder.”

On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox is available from Amazon and fine booksellers everywhere.

 

 

I just found the C38 carry-on bag from the fine folks at Volcier – perhaps the very last piece of luggage you will ever need to buy.

About the C38 from Vocier:

“The C38 is the workhorse of our product portfolio, and our best-selling cabin luggage piece by far. The C38 features both our Zero Crease™ system for wrinkle-free suits or other business and formal attire, as well as our Fast Pass™ concept for quick, unobstructed access to toiletries during security checks. The exterior is finished in durable black nylon, black Italian leather straps, and PVD coated black metal fastenings. The C38 has won numerous international design awards, and is the elegant yet smart answer to the discerning frequent traveller’s most urgent luggage requirements.”

You may balk at the $600 price tag at first, but once you realize how much you have spent on cheaper bags over the years that you had to replace – this thing pays for itself in longevity and style.

Learn more about the C38 from Vocier here.

See all the great luggage styles from Vocier here.

You must know people for whom today’s find would be the perfect gift: the I Am Silently Correcting Your Grammar Mug I found from the fine folks at The Library Store.

About the I Am Silently Correcting Your Grammar Mug from The Library Store:

“As you enjoy your favorite, warm beverage, be sure to warn others that you will be, in fact, silently correcting their poor grammar with this vintage-inspired, camping-styled, stainless steel mug. Featuring a white finish with blue lettering and red trim around the lip of the mug, this sturdy little mug can withstand many a washing and “accidental” falls that may occur as others passive-aggressively attempt to get rid of this judgmental little mug. Rest assured, this grammatical camper’s mug will persist.”

Find the I Am Silently Correcting Your Grammar Mug from The Library Store here.

See all the books and literature-related items from The Library Store here.

FF: The Swag Fruit and Vegetable Storage Bag

I found the best way to store all those fresh veggies still available at your local farmers’ market – the Fruit and Vegetable Storage Bag from the fine folks at The Swag.

About the Swag Fruit and Vegetable Storage Bag:

“The Swag is a fruit and vegetable storage bag that is designed to keep produce fresh for so much longer! The Swag is unique because it can be used wet or dry, in or out of the refrigerator. The Swag eliminates the need for plastic storage bags, is machine washable and designed to last years. With The Swag you cut down food waste, save money, keep your fruits and vegetables fresher for longer while doing your part to help environment.”

Find the Swag Fruit and Vegetable Storage Bag here.

FF: The Quality Matches from The Joy of Light

I like to keep some fancy matches around to light my candles and start a fire in the fire place. Some of the nicest matches I have found lately are those I found from the fine folks at The Joy of Light.

About the matches from The Joy of Light:

“Whether it’s a candlelight dinner, the glow of a winter’s fireplace, the sizzle of a barbeque, or a gathering of friends around a summer night’s fire pit, let The Joy of Light bring light and warmth to your home. Our company was started from a passion for collecting stick matches as a remembrance of places visited and good times shared. This passion has grown to creating candle and fireplace/barbecue matchboxes in radiant colors and designs that suit any occasion, compliment any environment, and express the distinctive personalities and interests of many.”

Check out The Joy of Light here.

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