A Few of My Favorite Things

"The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

- Robert Louis Stevenson

I thought it might be time again to spotlight a few of my favorite things. I love knowing about things that others love and feel passionate about. Don't we all? Everyone loves a good recommendation! If you want to read my past posting on a few of my favorite things, click here. And as I've said before, I do not receive any compensation for these recommendations, but have included links, where appropriate, so that you can easily find them, if you are so inclined. Here are my latest 10 favorite things:

1. Red Metal Cooler.  I have just realized that our red, metal cooler is one of my most favorite things I have ever purchased! We take it everywhere! Here it is going out in a canoe with us...


Here you can spot it on the sailboat cruise with us...


It is made of sturdy metal and has that great vintage look. It easily holds lunch for four: sandwiches, a salad or fruit, beverages, and a small dessert. Yes, it's heavy when it's loaded, but we never really carry it very far. And if we do, then two people carry it between themselves...no problem. We ADORE this cooler! It makes a delightfully well-received wedding gift too. I have given it to numerous couples, once even in blue. I like giving gifts with which people will make happy memories! This cooler is a keeper! You can buy the identical one from Amazon (although the price has jumped about $20 since I purchased ours) by clicking here, OR you can buy an identical one in white from Crate & Barrel for a better price by clicking here.

2. Food Network Kitchen's Feta Herb Vinaigrette. I noticed Food Network Kitchen's dressings at our local grocery store for the first time this summer. All four of the varieties they carry are delicious, but the Feta Herb one is my favorite. It's not overpowering in flavor, but packs a nice little zing for your taste buds. Quite possibly, my favorite part of it is that two tablespoons of dressing only contain 70 calories. Win! Check for it at your local store.


3. Handlettering tutorials from The Postman's Knock. If you've ever wanted to learn classic calligraphy, handlettering, or modern calligraphy, then The Postman's Knock is a great source with which to learn. Lindsey Bugbee has a series of video tutorials and print-at-home practice sheets which walk you through the process and provide you with as much practice as your need. I learned some handlettering before we went to Europe, so I could caption some of my journal pages. 


And I've been working on modern calligraphy, but not as diligently as I should to truly get good at it. But the beauty of her method is that you can do it all at home, on your own time, and for a reasonable price. Click here to go to her Learn Calligraphy page.

4. Long Walks. I am passionate about long walks. I love to take them early in the morning or just before dusk. I average between two and six miles, and it's great exercise. But I think what I enjoy most about them is the connection it gives me to nature. There is ever so much to enjoy and ponder and notice about the world around us, and when you're moving at the rate your own feet can take you, you discover it in the best detail. On a recent walk, I noticed: the golden rod is blooming, some of the ferns on the forest floor are starting to die, the sound of song birds, a fuzzy caterpillar, how the wild grapevines are bountiful this year and heavy-laden with fruit, squirrels and chipmunks, that a neighbor's apple trees have not produced many apples this year, the lovely way in which the tendrils of vines climb up a tree trunk, leaves starting to turn to autumn colors, that the moon is a waning gibbous, and so on. All these things I would miss if I never walked. 


5. Crate & Barrel's Marin Canisters. I'll tell you up front that you will have to live near a Crate & Barrel outlet to have any hope of finding these exact canisters, but it's probably the concept that I like the most. I'm a big believer in the textile designer, Williams Morris', adage, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." And, in my view, if the useful can be beautiful, like a fine, high quality scrubbing brush with a wooden handle, then all the better! OR, if the useful is not beautiful, then store it in something that is! I do not drink coffee, and I don't find K-cups attractive in the least. They are plastic, multi-colored, and have a bunch of wording on them. Nothing attractive about them. But they seem to have taken their permanent place upon the scene, so I am resigned to their existence. But I don't have to look at them! So, I was thrilled to discover that our (sort of) local Crate & Barrel outlet still had some canisters from their Marin line of dishware. They look attractive, neutral, and have a heritage-modern vibe happening as they sit on the counter, and they keep all those K-cups contained and out of sight. But really...any pottery-like canister would serve the same purpose.


6. Bleak House London's Red Book. If you are planning a trip to England (and even if you're not!) you really must go over to Bleak House London's website (click here) and subscribe to Annabel's Red Book. Scroll to the bottom of her page and find The Red Book Email and enter your address. It's a monthly newsletter filled with the most useful information about adventuring in England. 

The dramaticĂ‚ white cliffs of the Seven Sisters and the iconic red and white striped lighthouse at Beachy Head make this one of England's most iconic walks.
Photo credit to Bleak House London: here.
I have written you before about how Bleak House London is one of my favorite Instagram accounts, mostly because Annabel's writing is so engaging and her determined spirit is decidedly admirable. That same writing style makes her Red Book captivating as well...detailed notes about where to walk, how to get there, the most delicious and cozy pubs in which to dine, and the off-the-beaten-path insider tips that make the novice traveler feel knowledgeable and well-prepared to set off. I have been printing out all her walking guides and saving them up for our next trip. To read past editions of The Red Book, click here and enjoy with a cup of tea. Highly recommend!

7. Nora Murphy Country House. I adore Nora Murphy's relaxed New England style! From her blog, to her Instagram, to her new Hunt Shop, to her fabulous candles, Nora Murphy serves up daily doses of inspiration and beauty that just can't be beat. If you need a little seasonal design inspiration, or if you want to hone your eye for what elements make good design, Nora Murphy is a great one to follow. She offers occasional recipes. She takes you along on vacations to the Cape and Nantucket. She lives, like all of us in New England, with the rhythm of the seasons, and nobody does it better than Nora! AND her book is coming out this month! I can hardly wait! Click here to visit her homepage.

Picture from when we meet her while touring her home in Connecticut.
8. Sunday Baroque. And I have Nora Murphy to thank for inspiring me, upon her recommendation, to try Sunday Baroque. Now it's part of my Sunday morning routine. I make myself and Hubby omelettes, and as we eat, we listen to Sunday Baroque...hours of lovely baroque music with only a wee bit of commentary about the composers and musicians. It's a lovely, relaxing, and peaceful way to start the day. Click here to go to their site, where you will have to click to listen to the "four most recent hours of Sunday Baroque".

9. Address Labels from Felix Doolittle. I love illustrations with a bit of heart...seasonal, whimsical, maybe touched with humor, sweetly simple, and unrelentingly upbeat. And that's just what I find with Felix Doolittle's art. He makes all kinds of prints and stationery products: canning labels, bookmarks, bookplates, calling cards, note cards, and more. But my favorite are his address labels. I certainly don't use them for boring correspondence...like bills. But for any correspondence of a personal nature, I enjoy using something that is pretty and more of a statement about our family. We used this style for our Christmas cards last year, which seemed entirely appropriate after our Land Rover expedition in England that year...

And we recently included this style with a marine life-themed birthday present to our ocean-loving niece...

Whale Rider - Panoramic Return Address Labels
(Photo credits of both of the above to Felix Doolittle.) Click here to go to his site. And don't forget to check back for his Christmas collection, which comes out in the autumn. So many fabulous Christmas address labels to stick on your Christmas cards!

10. Crate & Barrel's Marin Pasta Low Bowls. Click here. Yes, I am a bit obsessed with Crate & Barrel's Marin line. It's the perfect creamy-white color...not too stark, not too gray, not to yellow. And it gives that look of handthrown pottery without the price tag. I love it's organic shape and the barely darker edging that gives it definition. We adore (see my last post on favorite things) their appetizer plates and use them all the time for appetizers and desserts. And now we've added the pasta low bowls to our collection.


They are the perfect low-profile bowl for entree salads. Currently, we probably use them most for bowls...chicken and rice bowls, or steak/rice-quinoa/grilled veggie bowls...


We just purchased them in June. But what I'm most looking forward to using them for is for autumn and winter dinners with a pile of mashed potatoes and some meat in a puddle of sauce or gravy...all neatly contained, because it's in a low bowl. I looked at the low bowls offered by many companies, but I chose these because they're beautiful AND because they're not overly huge, meaning you are not reduced to filling the bowl with a portion bigger than you should eat, nor is your normal-sized portion looking lost in a bowl too big for itself. These hit that happy medium spot, and I couldn't be more pleased with them.

I hope you found something you'd like to try. I attempt to recommend a variety of things for people who have a wide range of interests and at a variety of price points (from free to moderate). Enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Kate! Great post!
    The dressing sounds yummy. I'll have to look for it.
    We just made our flight reservations for Scotland and England for next year, so I have plenty of time to research The Red Book. I will also go back and read your recs. too for Scotland and England.
    Nora Murphy is wonderful. How great for you all to meet. Looking forward to her book.
    Lastly, those bowls are so perfect.

    Have a great week and thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      SO excited for you that you're headed to the UK! Have you been before, or is this a first?

      Delete

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