EAT: Are you salivating yet? I've been loving the food scene in Halifax lately, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting the chef behind Ratinaud French Cuisine, Halifax's best (and only) real charcuterie joint. The Limoges, France native has been getting rave reviews for his selection of cured meats, sausages, pâté, rillette, and more. I'm a big fan of the coppa (cured whole pork shoulder with NS juniper berries), and the duck prosciutto is to die for. Their new website and Fall 2013/Winter 2014 dinner schedule just launched last week, The Coast wrote an(other) article about them, and they got some new display coolers. Things are coming up Ratinaud, get in there and taste what the fuss is about.
MAKE: Did I tell you about the coasters I made earlier this summer? I'm pretty proud of them, and they were super easy thanks to a fantastic tutorial from Purl Bee by Purl Soho. They are now offering instructional videos in addition to their collection of (free!) DIY projects. Their site is my go-to for all things good and beautiful and crafty, and I hope one day I'll get to visit (and spend a small fortune) in their shop.
DWELL: Maybe this is old news, but if it's not you are in for a treat. Cabin Porn is a website devoted photographs of spaces that are gorgeous, rustic, and tiny. Curated by the members of an artist's community called Beaver Brook, these images tug at the strings of my heart and make me want to settle down deep in the woods.
WEAR: A customer recently introduced me to an up and coming American clothing designer whose work is absolutely gorgeous. Alexandra Grecco's work is timeless, classic, and a little playful. I'm especially in love with this silk blouse which features a hand painted macrame design.
DRINK: I was at a wedding this past weekend and was reminded just how much I love Picaroons beer. I'm a New Brunswick gal, and this beer hails from the capitol of my home province, Fredericton, NB. They've got something for just about any beer lover including lots of fantastic seasonal beers. There are a few kinds available in the local NSLC, but take a drive over the border to Sackville, NB and you'll find a whole selection from Melon Head (Watermelon Beer!) to Simeon Jones River Valley Ale (named for a former brewer and mayor of Saint John, NB).
SHOP: There is a beautiful shop in the UK full of cool, must-have home decor items...for dogs. I want to buy some of these beautiful things for my home and use my dog as an excuse. The shop is named Houndworthy, but much of it is homeworthy, like this distressed canvas pillow or 'dog bed' as they call it. I see it as a super cool throw pillow for my couch! Wow, some dogs have it so good.
DIY: I was recently perusing the goods at Anthropologie on line and saw a wood block toothbrush holder and thought, 'I could make that'. Well so could you. I found a tutorial for a much nicer wood block pencil holder that could easily be modified to fit toothbrushes.
EAT: I love having a stash of treats hidden away in the cupboard for rainy days and this one is the best. Almond Roca! (Think Skor Bar). I have been making this recipe for years now and it is so easy and satisfying. It makes a great gift because it is so delectable. There are only 6 ingredients albeit a couple of them are a bit pricey (butter and almonds), but it is worth every penny and lasts a while (in a secret stash).
TRAVEL: One day I would like to visit the cliffs of the Gravina River Valley in Matera Italy, which are believed to be the site of the first human settlements in Italy. And while there I would like to stay at La Grotta della Civita. It is a hotel built inside the deserted grottos of an Italian mountain village from the Middle Ages. The hotel consists of 18 cave rooms and a restaurant also built into a cave. It took a total of 10 years to renovate the caves into the hotel it is today, although they still maintain a Medieval feel. There are no televisions or phones in the rooms but there is wi-fi access throughout the hotel.
READ: The Secret Museum by Molly Oldfield documents some of the treasures hidden away in museum vaults and archives that are too precious to display. Some of the items unearthed in this book are a space suit covered in moon dust, three pieces of Mars, Van Gogh’s personal sketchbooks, a letter opener made from the paw of Charles Dickens’ cat, and many more surprises.