Matt and Nat (short for Mat(t)erial and Nature) is a Montreal-based company formed in 1995 to make products with recycled materials – plastic, nylon, cardboard, rubber, cork, and bicycle tires. Sounds strange? Maybe, but the products – handbags, wallets, backpacks, messenger bags, laptop and i-pad sleeves, briefcases, diaper bags, and more – are stunning, remarkably strong, extraordinarily useful, and very economical. Read more
Has your mouth danced today?
Walk through the Tremont area of Cleveland, Ohio and visitors will quickly learn the historic neighborhood is home to 29 churches, 31 bars, and 1 amazing chocolate shop known as Lilly Handmade Chocolates. Situated among historic homes (Tremont is one of the oldest parts of Cleveland and once housed a large German and Ukrainian population that has since expanded to include young families, empty nesters, hipsters, and visitors who come for the shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes) at 761 Starkweather Avenue, Lilly Handmade Chocolates is a destination point for those who appreciate chocolate, fine wine, and craft beers. Read more
Just when I think there couldn’t be a better tasting, nutritionally sound bar on the market, along comes one that blows me away. That would be the Raw Crunch Bar: a handmade, unprocessed, uncooked energy bar made with a core of four types of organic seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax), three types of organic nuts (cashews, pecans, macadamia), raw honey, and Celtic sea salt. Read more
Spring is the perfect time to enjoy fresh asparagus (although available year-round, the largest asparagus crop is harvested from late February to June). Stem thickness indicates the age of the plant with the young, thin stalks the most desirable and tasty. The thicker stems indicate the plant is older and can be tough and woody although a peeler can eliminate the rough outer skin. The tips are the most tender and flavorful so look for firm stalks with dry tips. Read more
The Oxford shirt has been around for decades – maybe longer – and is one of those wardrobe pieces that never goes out of style but finding a well made, stylish, and great fitting Oxford shirt made of 100% cotton at a reasonable price is a challenge. If you happen to be a woman with a long torso and arms, then the search is even tougher.
My husband swears by Brooks Brothers but he’s a guy shopping for men’s shirts (and the company’s women’s shirts are too short in the torso for long-waisted women). I’m a gal looking for women’s shirts and swear by Abercrombie & Fitch and specifically, the men’s Oxford Shirt with the Muscle Fit (as opposed to the Classic Fit) meaning the shirt is cut slimmer and fits closer to the body. Meant for a man, but fitting for a woman (sounds like that 1970’s commercial for Secret deodorant that went something like “strong enough for a man but made for a woman.” Read more
Theo Chocolate of Seattle, Washington recently introduced Coconut Bites: three distinct types of sweet and chewy coconut bars that seem to be the Pacific northwest’s answer to the sibling duo (Almond Joy and Mounds bars by Hershey) that originated in the northeast.
Talk about taking something from good to great. That’s Theo Chocolate. Last year the organic fair-trade certified company did it with the rollout of peanut butter cups made with CB’s Nuts Peanut Butter and their own homemade chocolate and this year the Seattle chocolate maker combined coconut and chocolate to create Coconut Bites. Read more
Five years ago, a visitor to Santa Barbara, California would have thought that the seaside town had nearly everything: great weather, lovely beaches, perfect sunsets, a creative vibe, aromatic coffee shops, artisan grocery stores, and a fabulous farmer’s market but one thing was missing: a bean-to-bar chocolate maker.
It’s not that visitors couldn’t buy chocolate in Santa Barbara – a wide variety of chocolate could be purchased at various retail stores including Chocolate Maya; instead, the town lacked a hometown chocolate maker who was willing to take on the monumental time-consuming task of making chocolate from fresh cacao beans. Read more
If aluminum is good then anodized aluminum is perfection.
Natural aluminum bakeware has been the standard for commercial bakeries for decades because of its strength and durability. By reflecting heat rather than absorbing heat, aluminum reaches baking temperatures faster and cools quicker (dark steel or heavy weight metal bakeware retains heat and continues baking long after the pan has been removed from the oven). However, aluminum is porous and will absorb fats, sugar, oil, dish soap, and detergents. The solution? Anodized aluminum. Read more