Category Archives: Aspirational/Inspirational

Places to shop in Kyoto: ToryBazar

From DW:

My friend Sophie describes me as an “epicurean”,  a generous way of saying that I will spend my last dime on something beautiful. That is why I suppose,  I find myself cycling around  Kyoto. I am here to escape the realities of New York, albeit financially and practically as unreasonable as can be. That is also why, I happened upon the irresistable shopping oasis of ToryBazar-a perfectly curated shop filled with affordable and interesting common things to Japan. I could not resist several simple objects;  hand-carved cherry spoons for sugar, beeswax lip balm in a tiny wooden vessel, and a small brush that’s specific use is yet to be determined.

inside torybazar

a selection of handmade brushes

contraptions to cover your cakes

contraptions for covering cheese and cakes

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The Holiday Train Show in the Bronx Botanical Garden

From DW:

manhattan

If you are as inamorate of  miniature  things as I am, theHoliday Train Show at the Bronx Botanical Garden should become a holiday ritual. Because…

Trains schmains! I go for the exquisite tiny models of NY landmarks made with painstaking attention to archituctural accuracy by Paul Busse and his Kentucky-based firm Applied Imagination.

manhattan, NE Side

Buy your tickets here!

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“Paesines”

From DW:

florentine marble landscape

Four years ago, on a night wander through the Saint Germaine area of  Paris, I came upon the most spectacular gallery. Illuminated in the window were what appeared to be tiny, beautiful paintings of seascapes and landscapes. Closer inspection revealed they were made of rock, not canvas, and in fact they were not painted at all. But how were they made?  I was captivated.  I was also leaving town, and they were closed. Foolishly, I did not write down the name or address, but they stuck with me.

So last week, after meandered for hours in Saint Germaine, I stumbled (purposefully this time) upon the same spot––Galerie Claude Boulle! And they were open! And Claude was there! Turns out, he is a geologist, and he showed me pictures of his digs in Tuscany and Bristol, and, in broken English, explained to me that the Paesine––or “tiny landscape”––is made from a slice of polished marble. Over the course of thousands of years magnesium and iron oxides trickled through Eocene limestone to create this painted effect. Sigh.

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The Find: Factory 20

From JH:

the find: factory 20

1940's lloyd's of susses boardwalk high-back metal chairs, $600 each

Factory20.com is an online antiques resource based in Sterling, VA that stocks an incredible range of good, old things. They’re expensive, but judging by the looks of the site, I suspect they’re in excellent condition (or, if scuffed, scuffed in all the right places). Inquire and purchase via email, and Eric, who runs the place, will deliver your furtinure when he’s next in NYC.

the find: factory 20

early 1900's french ladies writing table, $900

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the find: factory 20

1890's art nouveau mahogany side table, $1,600

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the find: factory 20

dutch flaring spindle chairs, $780/pair

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the find: factory 20

vintage buoys, $55 each

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the find: factory 20

vintage bread crate of architectural hooks, $175

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Find & Fix, Raw Materials, Recycling

Epicerie of Curiosities

From JH:

epicerie of curiosities

a must-see in the marais

Last week I went to Paris on whim for reasons entirely un-food-related, but my favorite find there was Izrael, a specialty spice market in the Marais off the St. Paul stop on Metro line 1. My god, what glorious edibles they have in this shop:

epicerie of curiosities

inside izrael

I bought black sel, and smokey sel, and fleur de sel in beautiful glass vials. I bought long peppercorns that look like stretched acorns. I bought violet-seasoned sugar pieces that resemble chunks of amethyst for DW. And dried button roses for cake decorating. Had I had a few more days in Paris to consume them, I would have bought bags of the stores dried fruits and deserts, too.

epicerie of curiosities

the details

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Why We Should All Go Work on a Farm…

From JH:

At last! I can tell you about my recent week away in VT now––I was here, at Luna Bleu farm in South Royalton, “wwoofing” (willingly working on an organic farm). For anyone looking to learn more about growing food and raising meat and dairy animals, this is the way to do it. Find a host farm through Worldwide  Opportunities on Organic Farms (wwoof.com) and go get your hands dirty. I can say without hesitation that the experience changed my life. Most profoundly, it changed the way that I think about food, and how much work goes into growing it, and the great amount of energy that can be gotten from it…Not to mention how much of that energy we waste in our country everyday, which taught me a great deal about what I can do to be less wasteful and more energy-efficient in my every day. Simply put, I’m finishing my dinner these days. And what I can’t consume, I try to pack-up and preserve, or re-purpose. Heck, I’ve asked for a compost bin for Christmas, haven’t I? I’m canning. I’m making small-batch sauce and freezing it for the winter. When I think about it, I’ve never eaten better.

Below are scenes from my week on the farm.

heirloom house and lettuce rows at luna blue

heirloom house and lettuce rows at luna blue

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herloom tomatoes

heirlooms and red slicers

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chard, corn, and the cherry house

cabbage patches, corn, and the cherry tomato house

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the sau

the sau

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just-picked leeks

just-picked leeks

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renegade spinach seedlings

renegade spinach seedlings

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the most you'll ever see of me

early evening

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luna bleu farm on a full moon

luna bleu farm before a full moon

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Let’s Talk Love Songs

From JH:

On this site we write a lot about things that make us feel good––food, bargains, flowers. Well, here and now, I’m going to add love songs to our list of small, life-bettering luxuries. Not the syrup-y, saturated, tortured torch kind, but those that try to capture the state of being (as confused and incredible and liberating and frightening as it can be). DW, I’m sure, will agree that these are worthy of being included. If you’re in love (as DW and I are, which feels like a lot to say, but it’s true), sometimes there’s nothing better than indulging in it (I will not delete that sentence, though I am definitely tempted to).

There’s a lot of good stuff in these albums (sappy and not, for romantics and cynics alike). But since music-reviewing is something that a.) I have no talent for, and b.) I have little tolerance of, I’m simply going to break it down by artist and album. Starting with:

the antlers "hospice"

the antlers "hospice"

Hospice by The Antlers: When you buy this album set aside a good hour to listen––really listen––to it, reading the songbook as you go along (this is sort of imperative, and DW will agree). It is heartbreaking and haunting, and not always easy to listen to. But the terrible sadness and devotion is filled with love so crazy-strong, it’s impossible to look away. Buy it here. Listen to tracks “Two” and “Kettering” here.

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blind pilot "3 rounds and a sound"

blind pilot "3 rounds and a sound"

3 Rounds and a Sound by Blind Pilot: These glorious, melody-driven odes from this Portland, OR-based band bring on the greatest daydreams for me. JB and I have a complete fantasy life set to this soundtrack (don’t ask. Even he doesn’t know about it, yet). Buy it here. Listen to tracks “Oviedo” and “3 Rounds and a Sound” here.

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the avett brothers "the second gleam"

the avett brothers "the second gleam"

The Second Gleam by The Avett Brothers: Today, while listening to Morning Becomes Ecclectic on KCRW Los Angeles via iTunes (my not-so-guilty pleasure), I was stopped in my tracks by a song called “Brooklyn, Take Me In” (for its lyrics; the song itself leaves a lot to be desired, too bad). But googling around I learned that the song’s Avett Brothers from Charlotte, North Carolina also sing this gorgeous tune called “Bella Donna,” which is on their 2008 EP called “The Second Gleam.” I think this one is best listened to while watching the video here. Those boys outdid their own beauty with this one, I think.

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