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Hand Woven Merino Wool Blankets

Most people are not thinking about wool blankets this time of year but they should be because now is the time to buy a new hand-woven lightweight blanket from the Nordt Family Farm – a 400 acre working farm, 30 miles southeast of Richmond, Virginia on the banks of the James River in Charles City, Virginia.

Owned by Dianne Nordt and her orthopedic surgeon husband, Nordt Family Farm has all kinds of animals including a small flock of three dozen sheep who supply the merino wool used to make beautiful soft hand-woven blankets. Warm and cozy yet light enough for year-round use, the Nordt Family Farm Merino Wool Blanket has hand-hemmed edges to give a clean, modern look to a traditional favorite throw. Read more »


“Life and Times of Michael K”

The Life and Times of Michael K was written more than 30 years ago (1983) by J.M. Coetzee and yet, the story is as relevant today as decades ago. Freedom from both persecution and charity are the overriding themes of this fictional story that takes place in South Africa when the minority Black South Africans were fighting against apartheid during a civil war. The years are irrelevant as the timeframe could be any decade and any place where there is one set of rules for the majority in power and another set for the oppressed minority class. Read more »


Pasta d’oro

Two friends recently e-mailed me about a product called Sam Mills Pasta d’oro, which one had discovered in an Italian restaurant in New York City when she ordered a gluten-free pasta dish. Expecting a bland pasta, she was pleasantly surprised by the flavorful pasta with a firm texture so she asked the server about the dish and he told her the restaurant uses a gluten-free pasta called Pasta d’oro – a corn pasta made with corn flour and water.

Made by the Sam Mills company of Rumania in a gluten-free facility in the European Union, Pasta d’oro is free of gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and cholesterol and full of taste, texture, and deliciousness. Read more »



To describe a Rawxie as a delicious cookie is an understatement. Made primarily of oats, dates, nuts, and coconut palm sugar (which has a low glycemic index of 35 compared to cane sugar with 68 or honey with 55), Rawxies are a hybrid of nutritional food bars and an indulgent dessert, according to Callie England, the creator of these scrumptious treats. Made in Kansas City, Missouri, Rawxies are heart-shaped cookies made in four selective flavors:  Lemon Poppy Seed (my favorite), Mint Chocolate Chip, Mocha Almond, and Banana Nut Bread. Read more »


The Mulberry

Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, Here we go round the mulberry bush, On a cold and frosty morning.

Most people remember the popular nursery rhyme “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” and yet, the mulberry is rarely seen in the fresh produce department of most grocery stores. A small fruit that usually grows to be about an inch long, the mulberry is typically white or a pale color when immature turning pink, red, and then a dark purple or black when fully ripened looking remarkably similar to a blackberry when mature. Read more »


The Changing of the Guard

Sometimes seemingly normal events have a way of putting people in their place, which is what happened to me this past Sunday. During the week, my subscription to the Wall Street Journal arrives Monday through Saturday but on Sunday I buy the New York Times and spend the morning reading all the sections (except Sports and Automobiles) with special attention given to the Real Estate, Metropolitan, Styles, Business, and Sunday Review sections. Both newspapers provide a different perspective (read: conservative and liberal) on the events of the week with the Sunday Times providing a lighter, more entertaining read on the most relaxing day of the week. Read more »


Simple Squares

There are few foods more gratifying than the simple ones: raw nuts and honey among them. Add vanilla, sea salt and herbs and simplicity becomes deliciousness with Simple Squares: natural, organic snack bars made with non-GMO verified ingredients. Made primarily of nuts (cashews and almonds), Simple Squares contain no wheat, gluten, dairy, corn or soy and are made without refined sugar, brown rice syrup, or agave. Honey is the sweetener of choice in the six savory flavors: Read more »


Lilly’s Coconut Macaroons

One of the great advantages of being American is being exposed to the foods of diverse cultures. When I was a child, I had my first “aha” food moment when I went to a friend’s home for a holiday dinner. She was Italian and there was an abundance of food but what caught my eye was a table piled high with homemade Italian cookies with strange names:  Pizzelles, Pignoli, Anisette, Strufoli, and Italian Wedding Cookies. One bite into these cookies and I knew Fig Newtons, Chips Ahoy, or Oreos were no longer my idea of a cookie. Read more »


OCHO Organic Candy Bars

Step aside Mounds, Reese’s, Snickers, Milky Way and Three Musketeers..there’s a new bar in town.

Most candy bars fall into two categories: inexpensive chocolate bars made with all sorts of undesirable additives or expensive gourmet bars made with fresh high quality ingredients. With both ends of the chocolate bar market well covered, Oakland, California-based OCHO Candy realized there was an opportunity to provide consumers with a delicious, organic alternative to the traditional candy bars made with preservatives, additives, and artificial flavoring, and the pricy specialty bar. Read more »


Ladurée in Soho

Most people go to Ladurée for the macarons – sweet, meringue-based confections – but the restaurant/tea room has always been the draw for me. Located throughout Paris, the restaurant/tea rooms (as illustrated below) are the perfect place for lunch or a late afternoon pick-me-up but since I don’t live in Paris, my visits have been limited…until recently.

Two years ago, Ladurée opened its first US retail store on Madison Avenue in New York (they’ve since opened up another storefront in Miami Beach) but the long-awaited Ladurée restaurant and tea room (illustrated above) just opened this past February in Soho, and looks like the Parisian salon was moved over from Paris.

Read more »