b*loves :: joia

Back with a quick note for my fellow foodies. Awhile ago I tasted Joia for the first time. It BLEW.ME.AWAY. I’m not a soda-lover in general, but this stuff rocks. There are four surprising and distinct (all natural) flavors, each with a unique twist that leave your thirst quenched and your palate happy. The company is brand new, local to the Twin Cities and just plain fun. Read their story, check out the sodas and then go get some for yourself. Cheers to a new year and some fresh flavors!

b*loves :: gift guide – designer picks

Hello, lovelies. I’m here today with another gift guide. This one is chock full of designer picks from yours truly. As a designer, this is the stuff that makes my heart go pitter-patter. Each item is either made by a designer, made for a designer or just plain appealing to a designer. Feast your eyes, and get ready to wow everyone on your gift list!

clockwise from top :: The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada from Amazon ($27) | Delfonics Mechanical Wood Pencils from the Walker Shop($10) | DODOcase for iPad 2 from J.Crew ($80) | Kitchen Conversions Tea Towel from Whimsy & Spice ($22) | William Morris Evening Garden Writer’s Notebooks from Galison ($11) | Canon Camera Lens Mug from Photojojo($30)

clockwise from top :: Pocket Phone Case from hard graft (EUR 55) | Best Made Brass Ruler from the Walker Shop ($36) | Work Hard & Be Nice to People Poster from Anthony Burrill (EUR 40) | Chalkboard Door Hanger from Restoration Hardware ($12.50) | Owl Measuring Cups from West Elm ($19)

b*loves :: gift guide – to eat

On Saturday I went to a food tasting at small, locally-owned Italian Restaurant. I’ll mention the place in my b*local post later this week. For now, however, let me just say that it was a wonderful experience, and from it I gleaned more than just a tasty lunch. Based on the food from the tasting, I’ve put together a gift guide. These are the provisions that I (ahem) LOVED. Out of the tables of tasty trifles, these are my faves. So, if you need to pick up a gift for a host or hostess, why not grab something from this list? Each item is totally unique and surprising and flavorful and delicious and…well, you get the idea.

If you are local, go to Broder’s Cucina in Southwest Minneapolis to purchase these items. Otherwise, check out their online store for these and many other awesome Italian eats.

1…Casa Forcello Raspberry Rose Petal  |  2…Casa Forcello Pear “Mustard”  |  3…Casa Forcello Cherry Balsamic  |  4…Dolcetto di Dogliani “Papa Celso” 2007  |  5…La Medina Pomordoraccio Semi-Dried Tomatoes

1…Olli Berkshire Proscuitto  |  2…Stickney Hill Cheese (any variety!)  |  3…Miragallo Sun-dried Zucchini  |  4…Olli Salami – Nappoli  |  5…Fig Salami  |  6…Miragallo Onions

Happy (and tasty!) gift-giving!

b*loves :: wishlist

It’s December! And, among other things, December means gift-giving. Let me tell you, I LOVE giving gifts. That is, when I know what to get a person. Which happens, like, well, almost never. I heavily rely on wishlists, gift guides, and fairies giving me good luck while wandering aimlessly around the mall.

Because the fairies are so unreliable, and because I know I’m not alone in my tendency towards cluelessness in the gift department, I am going to be posting a series of gift guides on b*spoke during the next weeks. Hopefully, they will help you choose lovely, original, affordable, wonderful presents for the ones you love. If the desired outcome is not met, however, at least you will enjoy ogling over a collection of cool stuff.

The first gift guide I’m posting is (drumroll please) my own wishlist! HA. Yes, I know, Christmas is about giving to OTHERS. And NO, I’m not vain or selfish. (Okay, yes, I am. Everyone is.) Anyways, the point is, this is the stuff I like. It’s the stuff I want to get for Christmas. And this is the blog post that I will send to my family members who want a wishlist from me. SEE!?! I’m totally doing this for others!

Because I love to eat, and because I love food, and because I am an aspiring foodie, I’ve included the following items in my wishlist: Olympic Cheese Knives from Crate & Barrel ($33) | Cheese Markers from Crate & Barrel ($10) | Cheese Dome from Crate & Barrel ($30) | Gourmet / Bon Appetit Mag Subscriptions | Wine Pourer and Stopper from Crate & Barrel ($5)

I really like clothes. And accessories. I only need a few simple things, really. This year, I’m all about scarves, fun socks, earrings and a bold white watch. That watch. That one up there. It’s the number one thing on my wish list. I’m saving my pennies for it.

Gale Chime Earrings from Anthropologie ($32) | Newsprint Loop from Anthropologie ($48) | SmartWool Popcorn Cable Socks from REI ($16) | White Ceramic Watch by Michael Kors ($450)

I also would really adore subscriptions to some local mags. Specifically, Msp.St.Paul, Metro, and Minnesota Monthly. I love going and doing and eating and seeing locally, and these pubs provide a great way to stay in the know.

Alrighty! All for now. More gift guides to come next week!!

b*loves :: fields notes

Hello lovelies. It’s Monday, and winter has arrived in Minnesota. Just like that, it showed up in the space of a couple hours on Saturday afternoon. I’m still a bit shell-shocked and depressed about it, so let’s discuss something happy today.

If you have not heard of Field Notes, I would suggest a visit to their site. This brand is iconic, and they are quite possibly one of my favorite makers of notebooks and the like. Simple, but not stark. Modern, but not cold. Durable, but not industrial. Their products have a certain functionality and sensibility to them, without being sterile. Their little memo books are rugged and charming, in a witty, dry-humor sort of way.

Last week, while at the Walker Art Center, I popped into the Graphic Design Shop, which is a part of the Graphic Design: Now in Production exhibit. While there, my head exploded because of all the goodness that was surrounding me. Upon regaining my composure, I picked up the Field Notes 2012 18-Month Workstation Calendar for a mere twelve bucks. The calendar promised months and months of reliable service, with no maintenance or special tools required. How could I not take it home with me? It now lives on the chalkboard wall of my studio, just to the left of my computer. It’s chock full of goodness…from large, readable information, to a list of “Real Big Days” (such as November 23rd, 1889, the date of the first operating jukebox). Should you want to pick up your own calendar, head to fieldnotesbrand.com. You will likely get lost and spend at least 38 minutes perusing their small, quirky collection of products. But it’s Monday, so getting lost for a little while isn’t the worst thing in the world, now is it?

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