Monday, November 30, 2009

Hitting the Motherlode

I bought a pound of Mother Lode French Roast coffee at Berkeley Bowl last week and it is my new favorite. The flavor is amazing and the roast is super dark, but not overly acidic.

You can find a list of retailers carrying this brand on the website or order directly via the online store.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Hate Perfume

I am always looking for that unique scent or perfume that will wear well and not give me a headache. I was exited to find CB I Hate Perfume during a quick trip to Dish in San Francisco.

These scents created by perfumer and artist Christopher Brosius are exciting and different from the usual perfume and can be used as personal or home fragrance. All scents are available as essential oils or spray and both are alcohol free.

I bought Burning Leaves ($60) which sounds strange, but reminds me of my country house with the smell of maple leaves and fires in the fireplace. I wish that Dish carried a wider selection because there are so many of these I would like to try. In the Library was also tempting, but I wish they had had Russian Caravan, Cedarwood Tea or M3 November which all sound amazing.

Retro Gifts for the Photo Buff

Digital technology has made it easy for even the amateur photographer to achieve amazingly perfect shots. That's probably everything old school and imperfect is so popular right now. Here's some retro-inspired photography accessories and equipment for that photo enthusiast on your list.

Lo-fi Digital

This Diana lens and adapter for Canon DSLR ($60) is absolutely genius. Now you don't have to switch between film and digital to achieve the look of a Diana camera. Dianas are known for their low saturation, soft surreal blurs, and unpredictable colors and now you can achieve that same look with your DSLR camera. Available from Photojojo.

Blackbird, Fly
This plastic twin-lens reflex camera ($140) is a remake of the Japanese design developed in the 1920's with one lens for the view-finder and one for shooting. This camera uses 35mm film but also allows you to shoot in square format as well. LIke the Holga or Diana, this plastic TLR will give you unpredictable results, varied colors, etc. Available in a rainbow of colors from the SF Moma store.
Fuji Instax Instant Camera

Digital is cool, but sometimes you want the immediacy of a physical photo. This next generation poloroid from Fuji ($90) will print credit card sized photos on demand. Camera comes with a built-in flash, wide angle lens and multiple exposure settings. Film is about $10 for 20 exposures. Available from Photojojo.

Retro Camera Straps

I still have my 70's woven tapestry camera strap for my Canon SLR. You can find vintage straps on eBay or check out these new straps with that vintage look for your DLSR camera. The Boneca Linda shop on Etsy features a variety of woven straps like this madison strap ($35) at right.

I've blogged about Kat Straps before. These straps are handmade by a weaver named Kat and are available in all kinds of colors and cool designs like strap #28 at the left for $38, but all of her designs are amazing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slipper Round-up

Now is the time to stock up on slippers because after the holidays it is extremely hard to find a pair. Here's a few that I'm considering in my search for the perfect winter foot-warmer.

Boiled Wool

I love the simplicity of these colorful boiled wool slippers ($60) from Garnet Hill. Made in Germany with latex soles so you can go outside with them. Unfortunately the orange ones (my favorite) are no longer available, but if you happen to like pink or blue these look great.

Knit Booties
These cozy knit booties ($69) from Viva Terra are hand-made by a small group of indigenous people in South America. Made of cotten and wool with agave fiber soles for slip protection they are available in natural or grey.

Duvet Slippers
These quilted nylon slippers ($19.95) from Baffin are like mini-duvets for your feet. More like slippers than socks since they do not have a rubber sole, these slippers look comfortable and easy to pack for those weekend ski trips. Available in a variety of colors such as espresso, fern, merlot and black (pictured).


I'm a little bit tired of the ubiquitous suede Ugg boots, but I love these Ugg sweater slippers ($80) with a cool cable knit exterior and the warm and cozy sheepskin inside. Available in brown or creme from Bloomingdales.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wrap it Up

Here's a few uncommon wrapping supplies to make your gift stand out this holiday.

Vintage ribbons

These grograin ribbons ($28 for set of 5) from Sundance Catalogue Company evoke Christmas's of yore. Each spool comes with 10 yards of ribbon and set features 5 different colors/patterns.
This Japanese masking tape ($27 for set of 6) would dress up any plain wrapping paper. Set features 6 origame patterns in a cardboard dispenser.

This red and white striped string ($35) from Bell'occhio minds me of Paris for some reason. I can just image boxes of sweets tied up with string like this. Also available in black and white.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hostess gifts

'Tis the season of holiday parties and gatherings not to mention Christmas gift-giving. I'm trying to be a bit more organized this year and start early. Here are some ideas for hostess gifts or Christmas gifts in the home and entertaining theme.


The Raj Teapot ($45) from Sundance is a beautiful reproduction of the teapots used by the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company on voyages between Bombay to London in the early 1900's.

In antique silver plate over brass, with nickel plate interior. The set comes boxed and would be a great gift alone or with an assortment of fine teas.


These hand embroidered and handwoven napkins ($18 for 4) from Pakistan are simple enough to compliment a range of styles from modern to bohemian.

What's even better is that each purchase supports snow leopard conservation and improves the livelihood of impoverished nomadic herding communities.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

A hand-carved Mexican molinillo ($14), or frother, would make a great gift packaged with bowls and some Ibarra mexican chocolate. Include a recipe for Mexican hot chocolate and some instructions for using the frother.

These latte bowls ($30 for 6) from Anthropologie come in a great palette of colors and would be great for hot chocolate.

Rootbeer for Grownups

I love rootbeer so I cannot wait to try Root ($39). Based on old root tea medicinal infusions that date back to the 1700's this 80-proof liquor would be a great addition to anyone's liquor cabinet.

Serve it alone, in cocktails or even or ice cream. Comes with a history of the beverage and recipe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I am still mourning the loss of Domino Magazine and Blueprint. However, I am now somewhat mollified by the launch of the new online magazine Lonny.

Created by some of the former staff members from Domino this online mag offer a similar experience with pages that turn and loads of beautiful images and photos. An added benefit is that you can click on something that interests you and get taken right to the website.

I was especially drawn to the country house spread. Love the use of antlers as a towel rack in the bathroom and the old skirted sink--a great mix of rustic and refined.

There's plenty of content to dig into in the first issue and lots of inspiration for the house as well as personal style. Look for the next issue out in December!