Travel Finds: Pinnies & Poppyseeds

It’s weird for me to write a Travel Finds post about Edinburgh, but since I’m moving back to the States next week, it seems like the right time.  Prepare yourself for several Edinburgh posts; this city is amazing. Anywho, for my money, Pinnies & Poppyseeds offers the best shortbread Edinburgh has to offer.  For the past year, I’ve loved stopping at the P&P booth at the Stockbridge Farmers’ Market as well as enjoying the occasional P&P shortie at with my flat white at Brew Lab (a great spot for coffee near the Uni).  And now, P&P has opened an adorable shop on St. Mary’s Street, just off the Royal Mile.  While the shortbread is sorely missed at the farmers’ market, the opening of the shop means fresh P&P shortbread is now available every day!

The P&P shop (pic courtesy of P&P)

Personally, I think shortbread is just about perfect gift to bring back after a trip to Scotland or to bring a hostess.  It’s also probably the perfect antidote to the tourist fatigue I’ve often spotted on the Royal Mile.

Shortbread (pic courtesy of P&P)

And, in case you’re wondering, the “pinnies” part of the name refers to the cute aprons (ahem, pinnies) that are also on sale at the shop.

Pinnies! (pic courtesy of P&P)

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The Best Coffee Table Book, Ever, In the History of the World

Last week, I found myself burdened with an Amazon gift card.  After much deliberation, I bought this book, A Map of the World.  And, no exaggeration, that was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Well, maybe not.  But, if you, like me, love maps and clever illustrations, then buying this book is a very, very good decision.  The cover alone is bright and beautiful and will bring a certain clever classiness to your coffee table.  I promise.  And then, the innards offer 200+ pages of gorgeous maps.  The mind, it boggles.

So pretty.

This charming map is a little taste of the wonders inside.

More stuff for my walls: Litographs

Before I gush about how much I love these book prints, let me note that I have a problem.  In addition to the many framed prints hanging on the walls of my flat in Edinburgh, I also have a few in storage and several that are unframed and quietly waiting for me to move into a bigger space.  That said, I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy one of these.

Taking the concept of books as art to a new level, Litographs creates each print from the text of a classic book.  The entire text.  Even better, the graphics are clever and gorgeous.  I love this take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

PErsuation

And their take on Pride and Prejudice isn’t too bad, either.

P&PHere’s The Great Gatsby with a splash of color.

GG

I even want to order books that don’t make my favorites short-list.  Like, Pinnochio.

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All prints are available in color and in B&W.  They release new prints every Tuesday and Thursday and if you register with the website, you’ll get email alerts that will give you $10.  With a starting price of $29, that’s a remarkably good deal.  Oh, and as a fun bonus, a few of the prints are available as t-shirts.

Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Minor Obsession: Kettlebell Kickboxing

Last summer, a friend of mine started attending Kettlebell Kickboxing classes in New York. She raved about them enough times that, when I moved back to the city for the summer, I started going with her. And then I started raving. The classes are a pretty awesome mix of cardio and strength training and I’d leave them with that exhausted but exhilarated feeling that accompanies a great workout.

And, while the movements (martial arts and lots of kettlebell swinging) aren’t exactly intuitive, the instructors do a great job of demonstrating and of making sure newcomers get in the swing of things (pun intended, sorry). Even better, the instructors are all that perfect mix of badass and inspirational. Over the summer, I loved the sense of accomplishment that went with switching to a heavier kettlebell or realizing that I was moving faster. Even more than that, I loved the results. I felt better almost immediately; stronger, and more flexible. After a few weeks, I could also feel a difference in how my clothes fit. And, after several weeks, I could see a difference, particularly in my arms and back, both of which are areas I’ve always had trouble shaping on my own.

When I decided to move back to the UK, I was wary about switching from the live classes to the DVDs, but, they’re actually pretty great. While I definitely miss the energy of the live classes, it’s been great to be able to do the workouts entirely on my schedule. The ideal situation, I think, would be a mix of live classes and DVDs. Unfortunately, while more and more cities now have live class options, Edinburgh’s not yet one of them. Luckily, for those of us living outside the KBKB live class universe, the DVDs do the trick.

kbkb

DVDs

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Equipment

Minor Obsession: Vibrant Scarves

Here’s the thing: I wear a lot of navy.  If it wouldn’t be a little bit weird, I’d wear navy every day.  I love the color.  But I know that all my favorite navy sweaters, dresses and tops look better with a bright splash of color.  For the last year I’ve been wearing the same orange and pink scarves over and over with my navy wardrobe.  So, I’m constantly on the lookout for new, cheap scarf options.  ASOS has two that are remarkably well-priced and lovely.

purpole

A great purple.

mosaic

Such a fun mosaic print.

And, for the times when just a bit of color will work (and when price is no concern), I love this ladybug (ladybird, for the Brits) scarf from Red Brick.

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And, just for Coley Di, check out these pretty swimming ladies:

swmming

Minor Obsession: Colorful Cookware

One of the first presents my husband gave me when we were dating was this deep green Le Creuset dutch oven. I was still fairly new to the kitchen and it was my first truly beautiful piece of cookware. It’s still amazing years later.

GreenLeCrueset

Little did Andrew know, he was starting an obsession. I love colorful kitchen toys. I can’t get enough. Appliances, serving platters, pots and pans, mixing bowls, spatulas, I believe everything is more fun in a vibrant shade. Here are a few beauties I would have in my dream kitchen.


Colorful Mixing Bowls

Mix up something delightful in these Joseph Joeseph mixing bowls.  I think the measuring cups are the perfect added bonus.

Owl Measuring Cups

Add a little silliness to your prep time with these red owl measuring bowls from West Elm. I don’t think you can ever have enough mini prep bowls. They are perfect for measuring and corralling chopped ingredients.

BlueStockpotMaking soup in this blue Le Creuset stockpot would brighten up any winter day. We host an annual soups party every December and I’m always keeping an eye out for pots big enough to handle a double batch – they allow me to cook for a crowd without messy boil-overs.

Kitchen AidI have a forest green Kitchen Aid and there is no reason for me to purchase another, but I am completely obsessed with this lime green professional grade mixer. This is one small appliance I would be proud to have on my countertop.

YellowPiePlateGo from oven to table with this sunny little pie dish. Who knew you could make dessert even more fun?

Red CasseroleServe up your tater tot hot dish in this gorgeous red casserole from Crate & Barrel.  If you insist, it would work just a well for something a little less Midwestern.

Wouldn’t these brighten up your kitchen? Which are your favorites?

Synchronized Art

How darling is this synchronized swimming print from Rifle Paper Co.? I first discovered Rifle when I received one of their adorable personalized wedding invitations from a friend. I love how playful and unapologetically sweet their designs are. Truthfully, I would purchase just about anything in their store, but this print is my absolute favorite. I was a synchronized swimmer in high school, a fact that I’ve received more than a little grief for. Despite the teasing, I whole-heartedly defend synchro. How can you not love a sport that combines strength, flexibility, and most importantly sequins? I can’t wait to hang this silly reminder of my high-school “glory days” on my wall.Swimmers

Minor Obsession: Haptic Lab

Inspired by Coley Di’s post on cozy blankets, I felt the need to brag about a project I’ve just started.  Haptic Lab is a design studio based in Brooklyn that makes amazing “soft map” quilts like this one of the Great Lakes:

Great Lakes

They also have a line of city quilts that feature hand-stitched maps of the city streets of cities including New York, Boston, Chicago and London.  Here’s London:

London

While I think the stark simplicity of the white city quilts is pretty rad, I have to admit that I love the cheery colors of their baby blankets even more:

BKln

Anywho, in addition to the quilts, Haptic Lab also sells DIY kits for the ambitious home quilter.  I bought the USA map kit around Christmas and am just now starting on it.  I’d originally planned to use a solid color as the backdrop for the map.  But then last week I noticed a pile of old jeans that I’ve been meaning to throw away/donate.  Denim seems like the most American of fabrics, so I’ve opted instead to piece together a basic block quilt of denim squares that I cut from the jeans and I’ll be embroidering the USA map on that.  I’m headed out this afternoon to pick out embroidery thread.  Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Minor Obsession: Cozy Blankets

I adore blankets. Just love them. In fact, I can think of nothing better than being snuggled on the couch under a super soft throw.  Besides keeping you warm and comfy, a good blanket can add a bit of sass and color to any room. If I lived in a big house I would have a linen closet brimming with blankets for every season and in every color.  As it is, we live in a one-bedroom apartment with very limited storage space, so I’ve had to settle for a carefully curated collection. Still, I dream of the days where I will be able to indulge my blanket fantasies – below are a few beauties that I would love to have in my home.

ZGallerie chevron-throw-orange

Super-fun, super-cozy and very on-trend chevron throw for only $60 from zGallerie.  I have a very similar blanket that I found at HomeGoods for only $30 – I’ve found a ton of great deals on blankets and other accents at HomeGoods and its sister stores, Marshalls and TJ Maxx.

handknit-swoon-throw

Bright and comfy blanket from cb2.  Perfect for adding a touch of color to any room.

Faux Fur

Faux Fur from Pottery Barn.  Perfect for cold winter nights.

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Stripes or solids for $30 and under from West Elm. Cozy and wallet-friendly.

blanket

Ruffle “Sweatshirt” throw from RueLaLa.  I’ve found that Rue, OneKingsLane, Gilt, Joss&Main and other flash sale sites have outstanding deals on throws and other home accents.

Which would you choose? Don’t they make you want to spend a weekend on the couch?