Best Bow Ties
Dap Kitsch This young fellow makes really handsome and reasonably priced bow ties. Found him at the otherwise uninspired Union Square Christmas market. https://www.etsy.com/shop/dapkitsch
I had a great masseur in SF but he moved locations. So I found this guy who treats massage like a dance. Something to look forward to every month! http://deepesalenmassage.com/
Best Design Book
Leslie Williamson’s “Modern Originals.” http://www.lesliewilliamson.com/modern-originals/
Best Design Workshop
From Leslie’s book. http://www.werkstaette-carlauboeck.at
Best Mysteries set in France (tie)
This year I read four mysteries set in Provence by M.L. Longworth. Even Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems make a brief appearance!
Also found a new series by Peter Steiner that predicts all that CIA nastiness!
Best Book of Love Letters
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy I keep reading everything that comes out by or about them! http://us.macmillan.com/theanimalslovelettersbetweenchristopherisherwoodanddonbachardy/christopherisherwood
Le Jardin Plume It took us a while to find this paradise on the edge of Normandy. Never travel without an atlas. But the detour was worth it all. One of the most beautifully conceived modern gardens we’ve been to. http://lejardinplume.com/
Best Restaurant Outside the US
La Pramil in Paris. Ran into our friends Anne Fougeron and Mark English in Paris and found this gem without a reservation. My starter was white asparagus soup with foie gras ice cream. Last meal before the revolution! http://www.pramil.fr/
Best House Museum
Just before lunch with we visited Le Corbusier’s apartment and studio in Paris with Sofie Nunberg, Anne, and Mark. Only open on Saturdays. Must see! http://www.fondationlecorbusier.fr
Best Thai Restaurant
We ate at a great Thai restaurant called Au Petit Thai. They don't seem to have a website. Here is their info. 10 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris, France +33 1 42 72 75 75
Rachel Ray’s carrot soup. But put in mild cayenne, not hot cayenne. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/curried-carrot-soup-recipe.html
Thanksgiving Concert at St Paul’s Church in London conducted by Andrew Carwood. It featured Paul’s commissioned piece, “Psalm 30” sung beautifully by the Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Best New Shoes
My Alden slip-ons http://www.aldenshoe.com
Best Spice Shop
We don’t shop that much but we found this local spice shop a few blocks from our house and it’s got me back in the kitchen. A must visit. Oaktown Spice Shop https://squareup.com/market/oaktown-spice-shop
Best Art Exhibit
Ai WeiWei on Alcatraz. And it’s there until April 26, 2015 http://www.for-site.org/project/ai-weiwei-alcatraz/
Best Art Exhibit in NY
There were quite a few. But Robert Gober was the most thought provoking. Not pretty like the Matisse or Cubist knock-outs but a lot of new information to think about.
Best Quirky Exhibit
Maynard and Lu Lyndon’s show of baby rattles at their shop, Placewares, in Gualala. http://www.placewares.com/category/gallery/
Best Private Club
OK, let’s be honest we don’t get invited to very many private clubs. But Two Brydges in London is basically a hang-out for folks in the performing arts. Great food, mismatched chairs, and adorable waiters. Thank you Paul Hughes!
Best Swimming Lake within a Short Driving Distance
Emerald Lake above Redwood City. It’s also private, but not fancy. You feel like you drove several hours to hang out in Andirondack chairs and jump off diving boards into cold green water. Perfect on a hot summer day.
Second Best Lake within a Short Driving Distance
Lake Anza in Tilden Park. It’s public and there is a nice sandy beach and a snack bar, but the water is a bit murkier…
We live on Lake Merritt but you can’t swim there.
Favorite Asian/Tribal Rug Store
The Claremont Rug Company has some of the most beautiful rugs in the Bay Area. But if you don’t have a big budget for antique rugs you might check in at Emmet Eiland and some of their new tribal rugs. Good prices, no pressure.
Best Chinese Food
Mission Chinese Clean up a funky Chinese restaurant, turn off the lights, shrink and freshen up the menu, and Bob’s your uncle. http://missionchinesefood.com/
CitizenFour about, you guessed it, Edward Snowden. https://citizenfourfilm.com/
Best New News Source
What happens when you bring a billionaire together with several very determined journalists? Well, I can only imagine the chaos, but most days you get something very interesting from The Intercept! https://firstlook.org/theintercept/
Best Snow Globe
OK, I am not a big snow globe fan. But our pals Liz Ross and David Westby create something really different. Check them out at: http://coolsnowglobes.com
Best Air BnB in New York
Found this charming apartment in Manhattan. It is four long blocks from the Lexington subway, but the linens are marvelous and so is the morning light. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/825732?euid=f92852da-0e60-f6e9-c3d2-56f57213deee