It's a brand new year and I've found some fabulous new stuff to start us off right in 2014!
First up: travel writer Ann Mah's scrumptious memoir, Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris. Ann followed her diplomat husband to Paris for what she thought would be a wonderful 3-year experience they would share together. Instead, he was reassigned to a post in Iraq for a year, and she spent much of that time in Paris on her own.
From Amazon.com: "So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city. Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths."
Buy it. Read it. Savor it. It's delicious.
Have you noticed that when you're traveling these days, you end up having more and more gadgets that require charging? Who wants to be loaded down with all those individual chargers, right? Well, I found a charger that will handle 4 USB cables at one time, and it comes with easy-to-switch plug adaptors for the US, UK, EU and AU. I'm getting one. If nothing else it will help us reduce the charger clutter in our own home, as well as when one of us is on the road.
As you may know, in the past year or so I've been having increasing issues with walking comfortably, due to a variety of circumstances including past injuries to my leg, back and so on. It's not the end of the world, but it has been making extensive walking quite difficult at times. When I went on my British Countryside Literary Tour last May, I knew I'd need the most comfortable shoes in the world to make it through that trip, and I turned to Fitflops. I'd already purchased a pair of their thong sandals the summer before, on the recommendation of my best friend in New Jersey, and they were so marvelous I wish I had purchased more (they had bling and everything!) So in May I was able to find a pair of their silver lace-up sneakers -- and they totally saved the trip for me! They also make boots, clogs and slippers... something for everyone!
Now, I have discovered that FitFlops has ballerina-style shoes, and my only problem here is which ones to choose, because they come in so many colors and fabrics. But I won't go wrong with a pair of black patent, and I'll be able to wear them with pants or a skirt, whether dressing up or dressing casually. If you haven't tried them, and you have difficulty finding comfortable walking shoes, I can't recommend them enough. They are worth the price. At the moment, they are the only shoes I can walk more than a few blocks in without pain. If you can't find them in a store in your area, they have an online shop in the US and in the EU, and they may be available in other parts of the world as well. They take returns, too, in case the size isn't quite right. Oh - and they make men's shoes, too!
Before my next trip to the beach, I'm getting myself one of THESE: a waterproof case for my iPhone. This one, from ECO-FUSED, is sized to fit most smartphones, protects your phone from snow, freshwater, saltwater, humidty, dirt, sand... AND it lets you take your phone UNDER WATER so you can take photos and videos. Out of the water, you can use the phone without getting sand, sweat and sunscreen on it. They come with different colors on the borders (and they all come with a stylus and cleaning cloth, and of course a neck strap) and a VERY reasonable price. Considering how much these smartphones cost, this is a very small investment with a very big benefit, plus -- UNDER WATER PHOTOGRAPHY?! How cool is that?
If you missed the debut of this new feature, never fear: it's HERE. You can find the current products in the special Amazon.com "Fabulous Stuff I've Found" widget over in the sidebar, and all the past editions of Fabulous Stuff are grouped in the "Fabulous Stuff" category.