Art/Culture/Travel – Graffiti Glamour!

Murals, *Graffiti, Street Art…..

By Pao - in Rome, Italy
By Pao – in Rome, Italy.  SpongeBob Square Pants.  I’m familiar with the character but never watched the cartoon.  I find this humorous.

Call it what you will but there are some truly astounding works to behold all around the globe.  Besides beautifying otherwise downtrodden neighbourhoods and offering innovative art to the public for free, the transient nature of street art is part of its appeal.  It’s also a lot nicer than looking at a blank wall. Street art is an ephemeral thing. Here today, maybe gone tomorrow. Many a mural has been erased due to the whims of local governments and the impulses of other street artists. I was upset to notice that an intricately beautiful mural I’ve always admired on a gelato shop had been painted over.

So I thought it would be fun to post the TOP TEN BEST CITIES in the world to view streetside art.

street1Sao Paulo, Brazil
Like many other cities, Sao Paulo has had a turbulent relationship with local street artists. Originally, much of the prohibited public painting going up in the city was political and the government was opposed. But it has relaxed this stance in recent years, collaborating with street artists to produce colourful works on highways and housing developments. When you’re there, be sure to look down to find artist Tec’s fascinating road murals.  If you can’t make it, you can find a virtual selection of Sao Paulo’s best works on the Google Art Project website.

 London, Englandstreet2

London has incubated its fair share of street artists over the years. While many works have been removed and repainted, many pieces stand untouched throughout the city (including some elusive pieces by the famous Banksy). Though officially condemned, the popularity of street art in England’s capital has led the city government to commission various pieces, like the sometimes odd installations on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

street3New York City, USA

New York is where it all started. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the first graffiti artists began tagging everything in sight. At that time, the driving force behind this nascent street art was ubiquity. The art form has evolved since then to encompass the elaborate murals and clever works that can be found around NYC today. Neighbourhoods like Chelsea, Bushwick and the Lower East Side are all meccas for street artists. At 106 and Park in Spanish Harlem, you can find the Graffiti Hall of Fame, a section of wall that has seen some of the best graffiti writers of all time scribble their stuff.

 Berlin, Germanystreet4

Berlin’s tumultuous history offers inspiration for street artists to produce some of their best work. Nowhere is this more apparent than the East Side Gallery, a section of the former Berlin Wall that has been turned into a 1.3-kilometre canvas. Here, you’ll find 105 murals that were painted on the east side of the wall in 1990, where graffiti had been banned during Soviet rule. Kreuzberg is another popular district for street art, and is home to the largest stencil in the world, the Kreuzberg Spaceman. But you don’t have to travel far from downtown Berlin for impressive creations: the central Mitte district is a creative enclave, home to Tacheles, a former department store covered in artists’ work.

street5Buenos Aires, Argentina

One of the most popular tourist areas in Buenos Aires, Caminito, is a district that bills itself as the world’s first open-air pedestrian museum. Its colourful building facades are very photogenic, and a number of artists sell their wares in the neighbourhood. However, Buenos Aires is known worldwide for its support of street art. Barren walls city-wide are transformed into building-sized murals, which are not only tolerated by the city government, but oftentimes actively funded. Buenos Aires native Martin Ron’s famous 3D turtle is found here, in addition to a number of his other vibrant and breathtaking murals.

Philadelphia, USAstreet6

As a burgeoning artistic centre, Philadelphia boasts a creative spirit that’s easy to find on its “Mural Mile”. Surprisingly, Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program – the largest public art program in the United States – began as part of a government-funded anti-graffiti movement. Tired of the artless tags that plagued the city, Philadelphia officials approached graffiti artists and had them direct their considerable artistic talents into full size murals. Today, there are more than 3,600 of these impressive works dotting the city. In addition to these full-size pieces, a number of famous street artists have left their mark here.

street7Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne has become one of the world centres for street art, with dozens of acclaimed artists having left their mark on the city. Numerous alleyways in the Australian cultural capital are decorated with vibrant works. Hosier Lane and Caledonian Lane are iconic spots, and in 2010 the local council commissioned a number of artists to paint the walls of Union Lane. These alley artworks are now highlighted by local tourism agencies. Though the relationship between street artists and government has been strained at times (city workers accidentally demolished a Banksy piece), the government has largely supported its creative citizens and it shows in the variety of urban spaces where street art has popped up.

Los Angeles, USAstreet8

If there’s anywhere in the world where street art has jumped the gap between radical expression and commercial enterprise, it’s in LA. Here, you can find LAB ART, a 6,500 square-foot gallery of street art that’s not so much on the street anymore, but can be purchased instead. But that isn’t to say that the art form has been completely commercialized here. A number of iconic works can still be seen in the La Brea area and walls in Hollywood are regularly redone with fantastic images from local artists like Robbie Conal and Saber.

street9Tel Aviv, Israel

While some cities shirk the free public art its talented citizens spray on the walls, forward-thinking places like Tel Aviv embrace it wholeheartedly. The community centre on Rothschild Boulevard and the area around Jaffa Port are ever-changing exhibits of innovative paintings, wheat paste art and stenciling. You can find interesting works wherever you may go in the city, though, like elsewhere, the best works are often found in less developed neighbourhoods. In Tel Aviv this means heading toward the less hip areas of Florentin to see what inventive Israeli artists have to offer.

Paris, Francestreet10

Walking around Paris, you’re likely to come across small tiled 8-bit figures a couple of stories above the street on building corners and monuments. These are works done by the artist Invader, who works across the world but hails from Paris. His colourful tiled mosaics of characters from the arcade game Space Invaders can be found throughout the city. Paris is also home to Blek le Rat, the father of stencil graffiti, who has been at work on Paris streets for over 30 years. You might have to pay to see the Mona Lisa, but some of the best art in the French capital is found streetside.

*Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.








 Words – of inspiration from funnyman Jim Carrey  

Jim Carrey - from Images
Jim Carrey – from Images



 No one said that Comedy and Spirituality cannot co-exist (which is the abbreviated version of comedy and existentialism.  So I thought you might like to see a different side of this well-known, super talented comedian.  Of course for the full speech you’ll have to visit the link below.

“Your job is letting the universe know what you want and working toward it

While letting go of how it comes to pass

Open the door in your head and when the door opens in real life

Just walk through it

Don’t worry if you miss your cue

Cause there’s always doors opening

They keep opening”

Good work Jim!jimcarrey3

This was taken from a video clip (link below) when Jim Carrey gave the commencement address to Maharishi University of Management’s class of 2014. The University Board of Trustees also presented Mr. Carrey with the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts Honoris Causa, in recognition of his significant lifetime achievements as a world-renowned comedian and actor, artist, author and philanthropist.  Enjoy!



Health MATTERS:  out of the Ordinary   

Tell me you’re not sick & tired of hearing/seeing/reading all the publicity to do with all things Kale?  How about Açaí?  Pomegranate is so last year! (even though I just bought a bottle of pomegranate vinegar).

veggieYes, we know (or have been repeatedly informed) that they’re wonderful for us, but now we take for granted the ordinary food staples that sound less glamorous.  Fruits and vegetables like celery, grapes, mushrooms and bell peppers – stuff we probably have more of in our kitchens.  Why should they be ignored? I always root for the underfruit!

Researchers are discovering new reasons to get excited about the old standbys.  So maybe we shouldn’t let “superfoods” crowd out staples that are just as nutritious.  They can work together as a team.  Let’s discuss:

universe4Celery – what’s a dip platter without this crudite? Now, back on the must-eat list as a potential cancer fighter with it’s top source of a flavonoid called apiginen.  Researchers recently discovered that when pancreatic cancer cells were treated with apigenin, 44 percent of the cells died.  Apigenin activates a chemical reaction inside diseased cells, causing them to self-destruct.  While eating celery can’t cure pancreatic cancer (you’d never be able to eat enough), over time a diet containing apigenin-rich foods my help prevent the disease.

universe7Grapes – we  like them because they taste so refreshing and the skins are bursting with Resveratrol, the same superstar antioxidant that helps make red wine good for your heart (providing you don’t drink the whole bottle yourself).  Resveratrol may also aid in boosting immunity by helping increase levels of a molecule that kills bacteria and viruses.  Adding more grapes to your diet may even protect you from contracting infections in the first place.  So drink up eat your grapes!

universe5Mushrooms are like magic – science shows they may help prevent breast cancer by lowering estrogen levels.  Fungi have also been thought to be heart healthy and immunity boosting for years.  A study showed that when postmenopausal women consumed 13 grams of mushroom powder (the equivalent of 1 ½ cups of white button mushrooms) per day for three months, their estrogen production dropped by 27 percent.

universe6Bell Peppers – researchers have long known that smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease characterized by a loss of brain docells that make dopamine.  No doctor would encourage lighting up, but there may be another way to get the benefit: peppers.  They’re a safe source of nicotine, which may protect dopamine producing cells.  Eating peppers (mostly bell peppers) twice a week or more is associated with at least a 30 percent reduced risk of Parkinson’s.  This according to Susan Searles Nielson, PhD, who did a study which was published in the Annals of Neurology.  Interesting stuff indeed.

What’s good too is that you can incorporate at least three of these items into a breakfast omelette, salad or pasta sauce. Try grapes in a chicken salad sandwich, they’re delicious.



Beauty biz – testing, testing

A new APP 

Mirror, mirror on the phones...who’s the fairest of us clones?

Photo credit: iStock
Photo credit: iStock

‘Makeup Genius’ is L’Oreal’s new (and the first ever) interactive makeover APP – the answer to our makeup testing prayers.  Virtually it’s a …..well just that – a virtual mirror, giving a larger purpose to our front-facing phone cameras.

No more will you have to wait until you get home to test a product and realize the color isn’t quite right for your complexion.

Make-up testing is moving into the future with the popular global beauty brand making history with the introduction of Makeup Genius. The new app uses facial mapping technology to turn the front-facing iPhone and iPad camera into a virtual mirror that allows women to try on products in real-time. ‘Makeup Genius’ scans L’Oreal Paris products or advertisements, matches the color and allows users to try the shade out on themselves. Created in Clark, New Jersey at L’Oreal’s Research & Innovation labs, the makeup testing app also enables users to try complete makeup looks put together by L’Oreal makeup artists and share their looks on Facebook.

Based on technology previously only used in Hollywood and the gaming industry, Makeup Genius allows consumers to scan a L’Oreal Paris product or advertisement to detect a color match, virtually try on individual products or test out curated looks from expert makeup artists, and share with friends and family on Facebook.

Makeup Genius’ is already available for free at the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad and is expected to launch for Android users in 2015.

L’Oreal Paris is no newcomer to beauty apps. They already have ‘Color Genius,’ an app that matches your makeup to your outfit and ‘Hair Genius,’ that allows users to create a customized hair regimen and get expert tips and tricks.

My only question: as amazing as this is, can we have an APP that lets us test every other brand of makeup products on the market? Because we’re worth it!

Source: Layla A. Jones, &

style – beat the heat with SUMMER chic!

I would love to step of a plane (preferably private) in a dress like this.
I would love to step off a plane (preferably private) in a dress like this.

These are just a few of my summer fashion favorites.  I prefer a free flowing and simple but still stylish look for the next few months.

Ali Macgraw in Goodbye Columbus - the look is still fresh in 2014
Ali MacGraw in Goodbye Columbus – the look still fresh in 2014.  She’s still beautiful too.
stripes...forever chic!
stripes…forever chic!
cool summer dresses
cool summer dresses with straw hats.
The maxi (in stripes no less).
The maxi (in stripes no less).
a nice way to wear a crop top - with floral wide-legged pants.
a nice way to wear a crop top – with floral wide-legged pants.
comfy, casual chicness
comfy, casual chicness
kiss - keep it simply stylish!
kiss – keep it simply stylish!
full skirt
full skirt with sleeveless blouse
the D&C MEN
Stylish MEN don’t need very much.   Especially if they’re Italian!

Oh…I definitely see a pattern here.  The pattern being stripes, florals & jeans.  How about you?

the fun jean jacket
the fun jean jacket


Grill Talk: FISH in the PAN

It’s officially summer!

getting started
getting started

You want to keep things easy, breezy but still want to impress your guests? With this non-recipe recipe you can feel like you’re dining in a little village somewhere in France or Italy. I’m talking a delicious “one-pan” dinner using any meaty white fleshed fish.   Here’s what you do:

Place the *fish (already sprinkled with salt, pepper and any other spices you want) atop cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, artichoke hearts, pitted Kalamata olives, caper berries, and lemon slices in a pan.

Pour in some white wine and olive oil.  Put the pan on grill, cover the grill, and cook just until the juices bubble and the fish is cooked through (roughly ten minutes or so).

end result
end result

Serve it from the pan – with lots of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

*For the fish I prefer halibut but you can use monkfish or cod. I used sole fillets once & it worked out fine.

Thank me later!



Art/Culture/Fashion? – when ART and FASHION collide


Two young designers pay homage to the surrealist with a new collaboration at “Opening Ceremony”.  Opening Ceremony is one of the fashion world’s holy grails – a cult destination shop on a par with 10 Corso Como in Milan, Colette in Paris and Dover Street Market in London, with branches in LA and Tokyo.

bazaar3Humberto Leon and Carol Lim had their heads in the clouds for their new collaboration with the Magritte Foundation. The duo’s favorite paintings by the surrealist adorn clothing of their own design, as well as shoes by Vans, Birkenstock, and Manolo Blanik.

“Opening Ceremony is featuring all things Belgium this year, so it was the perfect moment to celebrate the world of René Magritte,” say the designers. “We’re lifelong fans.”

prices below
prices below

Opening Ceremony was founded in 2002 by two friends from UC Berkeley, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, as a place to share their passions for travel, art, and fashion. Inspired by a trip to Hong Kong, the two decided to leave their jobs in corporate fashion to realize their unique dream. What began as a single store on a quiet street in downtown New York is now a global community with outposts in New York, London, and Los Angeles, a department store in Tokyo, a wholesale showroom, an in-house clothing line, a blog, an e-commerce site, a TV channel, and an annual magazine.

Opening Ceremony & Magritte dress, $545; Opening Ceremony & Magritte shirt $375; Opening Ceremony & Magritte & Vans sneakers, $135, Source: Harpar’s Bazaar.

Please visit link to previous post – MoMa’s “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary”:

Health MATTERS:  Shelf Life – keep or toss?


Do you ever throw food away prematurely?  The packaging tells you it’s time to chuck it, but it still seems okay.

Confusion over food dating has led 91 percent of us to throw food away too soon according to a 2013 report from Harvard Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Some foods can stay fresh well past their “expiration” dates. Here, SIX ITEMS YOU SHOULD NOT BE SO QUICK TO TOSS.


Eggs:  Pay no attention to the SELL BY date on your carton – it’s meant to help retailers manage turnover and is not a measure of freshness.  Eggs should keep for three to five weeks in the refrigerator.

Cereal/Granola: Boxes typically come printed with a BEST BEFORE shelflife3date, but it’s a conservative estimate set by manufacturers for peak quality.  Those Cheerios can stay fresh for up to three months if you refold the inner bag tightly.  I make my own granola and it keeps (if I don’t eat it beforehand) placed in a glass container in the fridge for a few months without compromising the quality or taste.

Apples: Store your favorite reds in the fridge (place them in a plastic bag; poke a few holes to allow air to circulate), and they’ll still be good to eat three weeks later.

Deli Meat: you can keep unopened packages of sandwich meat in your fridge for two weeks – even if the SELL BY date has come and gone.

Bread: ignore the BEST by or SELL BY date.  Placing your loaf in the fridge can extend freshness by two weeks.  I end up freezing mine and taking out what I need which can extend the life for a few months.

Milk/Cream – if you buy it in a glass bottle instead of a carton the life can be extended for at least one more week.

Also, a good way not to waste food is to not buy too much at once….but we already know that.