Archive for November, 2009

Charm-i-days: Pomaireware plus adoration

November 27, 2009

Pass whatever’s in that fetching casserole dish, please.

So much to adore, so little time.

Ideal for the people on your list who fancy themselves domestic, these Pomaireware fish- and pig-shaped dishes are more than cute – they’re versatile, lead-free (unlike some clay dishes) and fair trade-certified. Sounds like a stylish and peaceful way to bake.  These pots from Delight.com are happy in the oven, on the stove or in the microwave, and they may lure all kinds of people into the kitchen. Handmade in Pomaire, Chile.

Consider giving a dish along with a similarly endearing “I adore you” dish towel from Blue Q or an inspiring cookbook:  See NPR’s list of best new cookbooks in 2009 for ideas.

Pomaireware Handcrafted Bakers from Delight.com, $35.50
I Adore You Dish Towel from Blue Q, $9.99

Advertisements

Charm-i-days: ‘Keep Calm’ bandages

November 10, 2009
keep_calm_bandages_urban_outfitters

King George VI didn't see this coming.

No, seriously – keep calm and carry on.

Now that the bright, World War II-era “Keep Calm and Carry On” replica poster has been popular for a few years, you can find the design not only hanging in sophisticated homes (hmm, maybe I’m biased) but also emblazoned on tote bags, T-shirts, golf balls and coffee mugs. Of course, you could also pick up one of the spoofs that advise freaking out or eating cake instead of keeping calm. Even better than that – and ideal for a stocking stuffer – go for these bandages available at Urban Outfitters.

The sentiment of the British poster, designed anonymously during the war and hung around London as an encouragement to its beleaguered citizens, will surely sustain you through any paper cut or splinter wound as you apply the bandage and stiffen your upper lip.

Keep Calm bandages, $8
Keep Calm T-shirts, $20

It’s time for the 2009 Charm-i-days gift guide – we’ll lead up to the holidays one charming, thoughtful gift at a time.

Let the surfeit of charming gift-giving commence

November 9, 2009

Sparkly charm-i-days to you and yours.

wrappingpaper2

Wrapper foreshadowing of charm to follow

It’s that time of year again, charmers. Time for early onset reindeer decorations in stores. Time for eggnog lattes and gingerbread man bubble bath.

Again this year, I’m doing my best to bypass my cranky interior monologue about commercialism and the entirely wrong-seeming tableaux of Christmas trees sitting helplessly next to discount Halloween candy. Instead, I’m easing into the cheer-making spirit by embracing it. Gently. So that means it’s time for the 2009 Charm-i-days gift guide: We’ll lead up to the holidays one charming, thoughtful gift idea at a time.

That said:

With that trumpet-like prelude, the gifting can begin. And oh, it will begin …  shortly.

Buy Nothing Day, Free
Hundred Dollar Holiday, $12

My charming walk through Paris

November 6, 2009

The day the streets were paved in baguettes and chocolate.

poilane_pierre_herme

Behold the Poilane bread! All hail the Pierre Herme macarons!

This post kicks of a new series called Story Charms: favorite moments and experiences of note from writers, readers and charmers like you. I’m launching the series with an adventure of my own.

I took a solo trip to Paris a couple of years ago and treated myself to a culinary walk offered by Context Travel. Context gives expert tours for small groups – a medieval architecture tour might be led by a history professor, for example. In my case, the culinary guide was talented chef and food blogger Louisa Chu.

Engaging and friendly, Chu took us to some of the most delightful places I’ve ever been. She led us to the bakeries that make the best croissants and baguettes (Poilane, of course). She took us to chocolatier Patrick Roger’s shop and pointed out a boucherie that still sells horse meat near the farmer’s market on one of the original roads to Rome. We made our way to Laduree and picked out boxes of the famed Parisian-style macarons. We serendipitously ran into Dorie Greenspan on the street, so Chu introduced us to the baking queen, who was happy to chat and told me about her favorite bakery in Nashville, where I live at the moment.

Then finally, the stop that changed my life: Pierre Herme. This is the man who many say revived Laduree back in the day. This is the man who creates haute flavor combinations each year to coincide with fashion week. This is the man who invented the Ispahan, that magical pastry with rose, litchi and raspberry. So I took my turn at the counter like every other person lucky enough to stand in line and ordered my array, including macaron flavors from olive oil to pistachio and a concoction of chocolate, caramel and fleur de sel.

Then I had the rest of the evening to open my pastry boxes and gaze transfixed at my purchases. I stepped into a baroque-style church on the way back to my hotel to admire the Delacroix frescoes. But those macarons: seriously transcendent.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>  

My charming walk through Paris

 

The day the streets were paved in baguettes and chocolate.

 

This post kicks of a new series called Story Charms: favorite moments and experiences of note from writers, readers and charmers like you. I’m launching the series with an adventure of my own.

 

I took a solo trip to Paris a couple of years ago and treated myself to a culinary walk offered by Context Travel. Context gives expert tours for small groups – a medieval architecture tour might be led by a history professor, for example. In my case, the culinary guide was talented chef and food blogger Louisa Chu.

 

Chu was engaging and friendly and took us to some of the most delightful places I’ve ever been. She led us to the bakeries that sell the best croissant, the best organic baguette and the best overall baguette (Poilane, of course). She took us to the shop of chocolatier Patrick Roger and pointed out a boucherie that still sells horse meat near the farmer’s market that stands on one of the original roads to Rome. We made our way to Laduree and picked out boxes of the famed Parisian-style macarons. We serendipitously ran into Dorie Greenspan on the street, so Chu introduced us to the baking queen, who was happy to chat and told me all about her favorite bakery in Nashville, where I happen to live at the moment.

 

Then finally, the stop that changed my life: Pierre Herme. This is the man who many say revived Laduree back in the day. This is the man who creates haute flavor combinations each year to coincide with fashion week. This is the man who invented the Ispahan, that magical pastry with rose, litchi and raspberry flavors. So I took my turn at the counter like every other person lucky enough to stand in line and ordered my array, including macaron flavors from olive oil to pistachio, the famed Ispahan and a concoction of chocolate, caramel and fleur de sel. Then I had the rest of the evening to open my pastry boxes and gaze transfixed at my purchases. I may have stepped into a baroque-style church on the way back to my hotel to admire the Delacroix frescoes. But those macarons: seriously transcendent.