Thursday, December 15, 2011

The 2011 Global Around Town Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome back Dear Friends.

With the Holidays upon us,

here are some last minute gift ideas that I hope you'll enjoy!

1. First up, something I'm dying for, 

The Theme and Variations 2005 Teapot and Coffee Service
by Fornasetti.

How surreal, and Dali-esque!

I love all things Fornasetti!

The plates are really nice too!

2. Do you want something delicious to fill that gorgeous coffee pot with?

I've been enjoying the coffees from George Howell's Terroir for years.

His recent roasts of Aged Sumatra 

have been some of the purist 

expressions of that 


"Notes of brandy and tawny port, fresh sweet tobaccos, 
roots, leather, autumn leaves and butterscotch..."

Last time this limited release was available

I ordered two packages.

You may want to do the same.

3. Up next a very exotic incense that you or your loved one
may love wafting around your home. 

I splurged on a small pack of this

Minorien Fu-in Kyara Ryugen

a while back, and will occasionally 

treat myself to some. 

This very special incense 

will transport you to faraway lands whether lit 

or simply sitting in its beautiful 

Paulownia box.

"This is Minorien's Masterpiece. It has a wet smell of Kyara that is very deep. You will also note an excellent tone that reflects, in abundance, the very nature of the incense tree. You will enjoy a gentle aroma of the highest quality of pure "Kyara smell."

4. I could not put down Michael Ondaatje's newest novel 

The Cat's Table.

"In the early 1950s, an 11-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the “cat’s table”—as far from the Captain’s Table as can be—with a ragtag group of “insignificant” adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: One man talks with them about jazz and women, another opens the door to the world of literature. The narrator’s elusive, beautiful cousin Emily becomes his confidante, allowing him to see himself “with a distant eye” for the first time, and to feel the first stirring of desire. Another cat’s table denizen, the shadowy Miss Lasqueti, is perhaps more than what she seems. And very late every night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and his fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. 

As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy’s adult years, it tells a spellbinding story—by turns poignant and electrifying—about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage."

5. A few months ago I was lucky enough to have attended

 a concert by this brilliant trio

at our stunning 

Finnish Embassy. 

The setting, 

the generosity,

the food, the drink, the company, 

and above all the music...


Psalms and Folk Songs by Kuara

Markku Ounaskari drums
Samuli Mikkonen piano
Per Jørgensen 
trumpet, voice

just may be the 

Best Record of 2011.

Much of the music here is based on 

"Russian Psalms and folk songs 

from displaced Finnish peoples

(Karelians, Udmurtians, Vepsans) 

- all approached from improvisational 

perspectives. It feels like a voyage over unfamiliar terrain, 

or as Markku says

 "like a journey through the night"."

Just a few thoughts for you my Dear Friends.

Wishing you 

a warm & wonderful