Archive | February, 2013
Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday clippings 10 February 2013

I’ve always liked the newness of an idea, project, thing, time or interaction. That’s why Chinese New Year is exciting. Wearing something new is a tradition. Each year as kids we looked forward to smoothing out a dress that had sat in the back of the wardrobe, still with price tags attached. Crossing our fingers and hoping that the purchase of a size larger at the post Christmas sales would accommodate for any awkward teenage growth spurt. Now I worry less about growing taller, rather the challenge is growing wider. I guess it happens to the best of us.

Man with mohawk hat sitting on couch

Something new for English Hubby

Last night’s conversation with dad reminded me that there is an order to things. The first day is for family, second is for in laws, third of the new year for friends. Given we are geographically orphaned from our respective families, we had to skip straight to day three. Lunch with friends, followed by the obligatory comatose nap on the couch.

Duck with chef hat on head

Peking duck Chinese New Year feast

If traditions are to be embraced, each new year the slate is wiped clean and luck automatically gets credited. That’s why as kids we never showered or washed our hair on the first day of the year. Who wants to wash away their luck?

Fortune cookies

Fortune cookie declarations

We would also look for auspicious signs. The number 8, something red, a signal of some kind. It would be an inkling that the year would be lucky. We would eat sweets to bring around a sweet year ahead, and accept ang pows with glee. This New Year has started beautifully, phone calls with Crazy Daisy, Dad, Skinny Bean and Squee. Smelly never calls, but I suspect we were in her thoughts nonetheless. Surrounded by fabulous friends like Hurricane Ali and Liverpool Foster. The sky is blue, the snow is white and English Hubby still makes the most delectable cups of tea. Gong Hey Fatt Choi.

Snow on the roof of a beautiful building

Beautiful day after a blizzard

 

 

 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Texture Overload

Baltimore has its many charms. Crab cakes at Phillips, the zealous adoration for the Ravens and the friendliest people ever who work behind the counter at Starbucks. However when it comes to hotel room decor, it falls woefully short. Staying in an over textured room for four days has taken its toll. Indulge me whilst I share…

Texture pillow and seat

Arm chair and pillow combo

Really Baltimore? The squiggly line theme continues.

Texture lampshade and curtain

Straight lampshade lines and curvy curtains

Not to mention the carpet tile juxtaposition

Texture carpet and tile

An example where opposites do not attract

My personal favorite ribbed stainless steel bedside lamps

Texture bedside lamp

Spine like effect

The visual discomfort continues to the bedspread

Texture bedspread

Lucky that it is dark at night

Let’s not forget the bathroom

Texture shower curtain

A shower curtain awash with checks

There is no end in sight to the visual jumble sale that is my hotel room. Is it even possible to feel sea sick on the 7th floor of a hotel? One more day and counting…

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday clippings 3 February 2013

Sundays like this feel as if they should be bottled in time. The essence stored, concentrated and used wisely. Here dear reader are a few snapshots in time to commemorate such a magical moment.

Returning into the warmth from a walk in Central Park.

Portrait of Kate Moss with man walking

Sunday at The Surrey

 

A walk in the park. The chill of the season on the face, enough to awaken and refresh.

Lady walking in along a path

Snowflakes melting in Central Park

 

Nature never rests. The sound of mulching echoing through the park.

Four bins in a row

Trashy, yet beautiful

 

Watching people walk by and buildings stand still.

Little child walking by a frozen lake with buildings in the background

So very New York City

 

No sailing miniature motorized boats this time of the year. So peaceful the lake.

Sign warning of thin ice

Proverbially skating on thin ice

 

Hans sits there reading with his duck. So patient, so quiet, so still.

Statue of Hans Christian Andersen

Timeless stories in Central Park

 

Funny to think that these messages will soon melt away, yet feelings will remain.

Writing in the snow on the wall

Expressions of love

 

A perfect photo to accompany the book I’m currently reading – The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Beautiful white roses

Sunday roses

 

My other Sunday love is reading the newspaper from e-cover to e-cover. Yes, no more ink stained hands. Awake to the electronic age where The New York Times is delivered wirelessly each day to my iPad, to be consumed in comfort with a decaf soy latte.

Here are the most interesting snippets, worthy or sharing:

 

Getting More Women in Leadership

Absolutely agree with Sandberg’s view that one of the most important career decisions a woman makes is the choice of her spouse. “If a woman is stuck doing all the household chores and child-raising, she just can’t have a top-flight career. The great Rosabeth Kanter of Harvard Business School once was asked what men could do to advance women’s leadership, and she replied: “The laundry.”” Another brilliant blog from Nicholas Kristof, and how we will miss them as he heads off on a book leave to “engage in a cause larger than ourselves”. Words to live by.

 

Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions

Mental health is more than a 15 minute consultation or an 18 question survey. Too many lives, like that of Richard Fee are at stake. When Doctors are nonchalant, and checks and balances are woefully disregarded, it makes it all to easy for vulnerable people to fake symptoms to feed their addictions. “Young adults are by far the fastest-growing segment of people taking A.D.H.D medications. Nearly 14 million monthly prescriptions for the condition were written for Americans ages 20 to 39 in 2011, two and a half times the 5.6 million just four years before, according to the data company I.M.S. Health.” Mr and Mrs Fee, thank you for sharing Richard’s story.

 

Maybe Management Isn’t Your Style

We’ve all known people who were not made for leadership or to a boss. Here Peggy Klaus offers some time honored advice: “When offered a management position, talk to your future boss, to the person you’d be replacing, to team members and to anyone else who can tell you what the job entails. Assess your strengths and limitations by scrutinizing your performance reviews and asking you boss, mentors and trusted colleagues for feedback.” Personal motivations are a window in how people lead, “…do you need for everyone to like you? Want immediate and constant reinforcement? Feel nervous about having legal and financial responsibility for others? Balk at the idea of evaluating of firing someone? Then it’s possible that you’re just not cut out to be a boss.” Takes an enlightened soul to put aside ego, and play to strengths.

 

The Boy With a Thorn in His Joints

How foolish we are to treat the symptoms, when the cause is left to fester. One perspective on juvenile arthritis, ideas about a “leaky gut”, probiotics, alternative therapies and a reminder of how we are our own best healers. “He has had five flare-ups since going into remission a year ago. Two of them followed courses of antibiotics. The other three came on the heels of his accidentally eating gluten.” The age old wisdom of ‘you are what you eat’ holds true.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Eye Spy Upper East Side

The is nothing more beautiful than a Sunday morning walk. As English Hubby and I strolled from the pristine comfort of The Surrey to our lunch spot on 79th and Lexington, I was stuck by the random hidden gems that were hidden in plain sight.

Bench with a deep curve in the middle

One way to meet in the middle…

 

We walked the streets armed only with an iPhone.

Red emergency call box on a corner street

Pre cell phone emergency dialing

 

And now sitting in Candle 79 with my iPad and a very cool Pixlromatic app.

Brass standpipe

Polished to perfection

 

Rustic framing for the photos.

Ornate oval windo

Window on the world

 

And Anne or Amber color overlays.

Two nitrogen tanks on the side of the street

Climate control for NYC infrastructure

 

Beauty is in everything, especially the ordinary. What is it that you see each day?

 

 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Spacation weekend in New York City

Our New York city lives have been chaotic of late, and English Hubby and I have been seeking out ways out time whisk rom the flurry of activity that has made the month of January feel about a week long. Last weekend we focused our frazzled nerves and surfed the Internet for last minute vacations to places that promised warm sun and soft sand.

As much as we craved the warmth, especially after such a chill infused winter season, the thought of spending endless hours on a plane, herded into cattle class was too much of a hardship to bear. It was a magical moment when English Hubby suggested we book ourselves into a luxury hotel, hunker down in our own home town and live it up for a weekend spacation break.

Beautiful bed with white linens and fluffy duvet

Falling in love with fluffy duvets and Egyptian cotton sheets

 

Through the wizardry of websites like hotels.com and TripAdvisor, we found The Surrey. A little oasis in New York City. This boutique hotel is part of the Relais & Chateaux group which is now firmly on the radar for future vacation stays. We checked in and the service was impeccable. Glass of champagne on arrival, beautiful rooms with little touches that just make the world of difference.  Imagine lying in bed, reaching over and with a touch of a button dimming the light settings to a perfect volume for movie watching. Or the option of summoning up to your room a mixologist to proffer cocktails at any time day or night?!

Cocktail placard

Mixologist on call

We had a little teen-like giggle at the selection of bottles in our private bar. A favorite is the Hudson baby bourbon.

Bottle of Hudson Whisky

Hard core drinking recommended for babies?!

As with any hotel getaway, it is always the small touches that matter most. From the fluffy bathrobes, to the high thread count sheets and the fluffy slippers. Delightful.

Hotel toiletries

Little things that make a big difference

So we have caught up on sleep, indulged at Cafe Boulud twice – once for a spectacular dinner last night and a second helping for breakfast this morning – and I now sit quietly in still silence for the first time in about three weeks. English Hubby is away at the pub watching England play Scotland in rugby, and all is good with the world. In three hours time we cross the street to Exhale Spa for 90 minutes of kneading and soothing strokes. The spacation is in full swing.

Window cushion with proverb

Words of comfort