Not to be missed if you’re in New York City
Source: photography by Ken Browar & Deborah Ory of the NYC Dance Project.
Not to be missed if you’re in New York City
Source: photography by Ken Browar & Deborah Ory of the NYC Dance Project.
“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I’ve been planning to have a ladies tea party for the longest while. Mostly because it’s a good idea (nobody does that anymore), I have lots and lots of bags (but I’m more of a loose women when it comes to tea) and a large box of beautifully mismatched china cups and saucers from my Irish grandmother sitting in storage waiting to be useful. And I can make little fancy sandwiches. A grown up tea party on the deck when the weather gets warmer…whenever that happens. And I don’t have to worry about them getting home safely.
Which brings me to….
Have you been down the tea aisle lately? Doesn’t it seem that there are more assortments than ever before to choose from? Crazy considering there are really only five basic categories: white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh (a variety of fermented and aged dark tea produced in Yunnan province, China). And all types of traditional tea begin with a tea leaf from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.
What about Rooibos then which is red? Turns out that Rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. I just found that out. (There are hundreds of herbal teas – too many to be discussed in this post, for another time). You learn something new every day – even something as basic as a tea fact.
We’ve all heard about the many health benefits of drinking tea. Apparently all kinds of teas even black tea is good for us to drink, although some are more potent than others at fighting off disease…so we are told. In any event it’s always nice to enjoy a cup of tea.
It seems that almost every country you visit has their own kind of specialty tea with claims of medicinal benefits and the custom is usually to welcome you with a cup of the hot stuff.
Tea is taken seriously in most countries you know.
The English love their black tea, in Peru it is mate de coca (or coca tea made from the leaves of the coca plant), In India it’s Darjeeling, in Africa it’s Rooibus, in the Orient it’s types of green tea and in Egypt it’s Hibiscus. I’m sure there are others but these are the most common kinds.
What about the health claims?
There has been less research on herbal blends than on traditional teas, but one study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily could help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. And evidence suggests that chamomile tea may promote sleep and that peppermint tea may calm the stomach.
I’m focusing on Hibiscus right now because the red flowers are so pretty, the scent is sweet and floral but not overpowering….and I have several jars of the stuff brought back from Egypt. Good thing that dried tea keeps for a long, long time.
Hibiscus also goes by the names Sorrel and Roselle. It is said that that the properties can help ward off major diseases due to it’s high content of polyphenol antioxidants.
Other health benefits of hibiscus tea include relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as digestive, immune system, and inflammatory problems. It helps to cure liver disease and reduces the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss. Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C, minerals and various antioxidants, while also helping in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.
A cup of hibiscus tea is a simple, effective, delicious way to increase your antioxidant intake! I better get those jars out of the cupboard and into the pot.
So a tea party is in store!
“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.
In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea.
What’s your favourite cup?
“INSPIRATION is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.” – Giacomo Puccini
This famous opera which was composed by Giacomo Puccini in 1904 (and remained his personal favourite throughout the remainder of his life) is based on a short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) by John Luther Long. In brief it’s about a pleasure seeking American naval officer based in Nagasaki, Japan who leases a house and weds a young geisha. He is only briefly enchanted with her (his “Butterfly” – oh you know what some men are like; they profess their love only to lose interest when they want to move on to the next) while she in turn, gives herself wholly to the marriage. He abandons her and then returns to claim their child. Butterfly is devastated and dishonoured and makes an ultimate sacrifice to honour her family.
Having spent some time in Kyoto when I lived in Japan, I was fascinated by the beauty and elegance of the mysterious geisha. I followed them around but never quite knew where they were going. I wanted to learn their secret but maybe it was best not knowing. For me, at the time it was a different world and an escape from the norm. They had a reserved, otherworldliness unlike other women which was refreshingly appealing. They gave the illusion of being faithful and trustworthy. I loved reading Memoirs of a Geisha (surprisingly it was written by a man; Arthur Golden).
“Why, in the Peking Opera, are women’s roles played by men?…Because only a man knows how a woman is supposed to act.” – David Henry Hwang (Tony-award winning creator of the beloved play M. Butterfly).
I’m so looking forward to seeing this!
Don’t think I’m going off on a tangent here just because I’ve been posting lately about glamping. Mind you there is something freeing about not having to second guess your outfits while spending time in the great outdoors.The main thing about getting ready for a trip (be it by air or road) is the packing and deciding what to bring and a big part of that is your go-to jacket because you don’t want to carry so much bulk. You need something to cover up in that will keep you warm, be comfortable and at the same time go with pretty much everything except your dressy wear. Something you can throw in the washing machine and not worry about it falling apart too.
My gore-tex jacket is something I never leave home (for any length of time) without. It’s light and folds up easily to fit in a suitcase or under the seat of the camper, it’s totally wind and water proof so will keep me dry when need be and if it’s super cold outside then I can always wear a fleece underneath (which zips right in). It has a hidden hood & pockets. I don’t know how many times that jacket has saved me from the elements. I even skied in it once.
We all know that air travel can be miserable depending on your seating arrangement. Aside from all the hassles of getting on the plane, once you’re in your cramped little economy seat it becomes difficult to do anything but sit upright, elbows tucked and wait for the journey to be over.
But it seems that long-distance love has paid off for the designers of a travel jacket that has now attracted a record $9m from would-be buyers on crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
Last summer, Chicago-based startup BauBax launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its new self-titled travel jacket.
The BauBax Travel Jacket is equipped with 15 features that makes it perfect for those traveling. The jacket’s retail price starts at $160 (plus taxes/shipping). It comes in four different styles—sweatshirt, windbreaker, bomber, and blazer—and boasts 15 features targeting the varied torments of air travel, though they’re useful for any kind of travel really. Among them are earphone holders, an iPad pocket, a drink pocket that fits a can of soda, gloves that extend from the sleeves, a telescoping pen built into the front zipper that doubles as a stylus, a passport pocket, and a hood that includes an inflatable neck pillow and sleep mask.
I think it’s a pretty damn good all around solution. Genius right?
I found out that many travel companies are getting on board the vintage trailer bandwagon: In November, rental company Airstream 2 Go partnered with Texas boot-maker Lucchese (love them too – bought a pair in Nashville) on a custom itinerary through the Lone Star State, which includes a trip to the factory and a pair of custom boots.
Airstream says it’s selling five times as many trailers as it did in 2009, spent $6 million on a new office space, and recently hired 130 new employees. Sounds like the making of a major comeback story.
CHECK THIS OUT:
If you’re not the road trip type but want to experience the Airstream lifestyle for a night or two, here are five firmly planted and beautifully decorated hotels for your next vacation.
El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas
There is probably no place more appropriate to situate a trailer than Marfa, the art-centric, holistic desert oasis of the Southwest. El Cosmico offers tepees, yurts, and, most important, several models of trailers that are sparsely decorated but seriously cozy. There’s a minibar in each but, intentionally, no Wi-Fi.
AutoCamp, Santa Barbara, California
This tiny Airstream-based hotel is made up of five vintage trailers, some of which come equipped with flat-screen TVs, large bathtubs, and Malin + Goetz products. Each trailer also comes with two beach cruiser bikes for getting around the camp.
Hotel Daniel, Vienna, Austria
Nestled in the garden just outside the boutique hotel, one silver Airstream trailer is available as a room option for guests. The 172-square-foot space was created by interior designers specializing in yachts and has a sleek, minimal feel. It nods to the experience of being out on the open road, but is in the middle of a busy urban center.
Italy Airstream, Venice, Italy
The website touts this as “the first Airstream park in Italy,” and it’s certainly the first of its kind on the Adriatic Coast. Recently opened in April, the six Airstreams each sleep up to four people, with a shaded canopy bed outside. It’s 30 minutes to Venice by car, or you can take a longer two-hour ride to reach the Dolomites. There’s also a beach just outside the park.
Caravan Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
For those looking to skip the Ritz or the Park Hyatt for something a little more low-key, Caravan is the place to stay in Tokyo. It’s a single trailer that sleeps two, parked near the bustling Harajuku neighborhood in a mixed-use office complex. It’s a fantastic example of innovative, smart Japanese design, with a gray exterior, modern pendant lamps and paper stools inside, and a wooden outer deck and lounge area.
I know this is not the same thing but….
Source: Vogue Magazine Article (by Brooke Bobb) 5 Airstream Rentals That Trump Traditional Hotel Rooms
40 days and 40 nights – that’s how much time I spent eating in restaurants while away over the holidays and beyond.
That’s a lot of eating out, and more than I’m used to because I normally prefer to cook at home and eat out only on occasion.
A relatively small fridge in a hotel room can only hold so much. It’s great for juice, coffee cream, breakfast stuff like yogurt and snacky items but since there was nothing to cook on I got to try out all sorts of restaurants. So if anyone is going to Palm Springs or Las Vegas I have a whack load of recommendations.
What’s funny about all of this is that when I told my friends, I found out that most of them thought it was great. Turns out they’d prefer to eat out in restaurants rather than have to cook. At first it was fun but then it felt a bit strange not having to do anything. No shopping, no preparation, no cleanup, no nothing. I started to miss it. I ended up going to grocery stores, buying what I could that would be easy to assemble in a hotel room which was mostly salad items. And picking up ready made stuff for picnics – which is another way of eating out
It was a good test. I got to try a lot of good restaurants and miraculously ended up gaining only a few pounds which could have been a lot worse but I’m reversing the damage – I’m just about back to where I was. Luckily I did a lot of walking, swimming and some running while away.
So when I got home 3 weeks ago I decided to cook all meals at home (except for when a friend took me out for a belated birthday celebration and vice versa). I decided to stick with simple, wholesome feel-good, healthy (mostly) comfort meals. A lot of steamed or oven roasted vegetables, fish, chicken, lasagna, soup and I brought my slow-cooker (crock-pot) out of hiding. I’ve been making a whole lot of stuff in that.
Here’s a recipe which is easy to make, rich in flavour and simply delicious.
Slow Cooked Maple Dijon Pork Chops
4 bone-in (preferably) pork chops
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat up the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the pork chops and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sear both sides of chops over high heat (about 2 minutes per side) then transfer to your Crock Pot.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions. Cook until onions are just starting to soften then add the cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes and then pour sauce over chops in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve chops drizzled generously with sauce.
active time ~ 10 minutes
total time ~ 7 hours
EACH YEAR it’s the same story; I plan on watching ALL of the OSCAR Nominees up for Top Picture (at the very least)…but that only happened once. Before this year that is.
I can’t believe I watched ALL the contenders in the top five categories. It’s not that I had nothing else to do in my life
okay, I had nothing else to do it’s just that this time I was determined and it became my mission. I think the academy should make me an honorary member of the board if only because I sat through some movies I otherwise would not have desired to watch and that’s putting it kindly. Even though they were all amazingly well done. Have a little sympathy, all this watching is time consuming guys!
It was hard to keep my eyes glued to Mad Max, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight and some scenes in Creed. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the astounding special effects of Mad Max and the astonishing scenery surrounding The Revenant and seeing Sylvester Stallone again after all these years, it’s just that I don’t like gratuitous violence, crazy non-stop action with mostly (except for one) raggedly looking ugly men and seeing someone eat a raw liver when I can’t even stomach cooked liver (apparently Leonardo DiCaprio did this). He deserves the Oscar for this alone. So yes, they should make me a certified member.
This year they were all really remarkable pictures. Mostly human interest, real life stories or stories based on factual incidences. And they were heavy...the financial housing crash, a spy capture during the cold war, accusations of communism among the entertainment industry, a sex change, a deranged kidnapping, child molestations within the catholic church, an irish immigrant in the 50’s, a lesbian relationship in the 50’s, an inventor & technological wizard, a girl who founds a family dynasty, a secret that unfolds on a 45th wedding anniversary, a trek through cold uncharted wilderness, a mission to Mars gone wrong, *post civil-war bounty hunters and a man claiming to be sheriff and the collapse of civilization with the craziness surrounding that. I took a break in between to watch Train Wreck out of lightness & curiosity.
It would put me in a very awkward position to have to make choices for “best” this and that from what I’ve witnessed. There are not many years where so many movies are this great. I didn’t say enjoyable, I said great. And there were a few surprises. There was a common theme: Compelling, All Absorbing, Angry, Unbelievable and Shockingly Sad. And beautiful! Every single actor was just….perfect in their role. It’s so unfair that only one of them gets to take home the golden statue when they’re all winners.
Here is WHAT picture and WHO I think deserves to win out of the BIG FIVE (and then be able to negotiate more $$$$ for their next picture).
Best Picture: On all accounts “The Revenant” will probably win an Oscar (they were filming in extreme weather conditions and I hated Tom Hardy’s character so much). Cinematography should go to The Revenant, but my personal choice for best picture (and cast ensemble along with The Big Short) is “Spotlight” because it’s just unbelievable how a small group of special reporters took chances to take on such a powerful deity as the Catholic Church and not let up. They were passionate and successful in uncovering a time bomb. Empowering!
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Here’s where it gets dicey but Eddie Redmayne did a believably beautiful job in The Danish Girl. But he’s up against Leonardo DeCaprio who’s always amazing and hasn’t won yet and has deserved to win in the past (can’t they tie for this one?). Oh but; Eddie it is! Powerful!
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
OMG please don’t make me choose. I love them all. Okay, Brie Larson for Room. No, no, it’s going to be the Irish Girl Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn because (light shades of Bridges of Madison County) it really makes you question or consider the decisions you make in your life. Bittersweet!
Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Just by the fact that I could have killed Tom Hardy’s character myself in The Revenant, it should go to him. But I feel Sylvester Stallone for Creed deserves it for sentimental reasons and the fact that even though watching guys beating up on other guys is not on my high list, his boxing movies are sheer entertainment. This one was more enjoyable than I imagined and well Rocky Balboa; he’s just a likeable guy.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
This one is easy (even among the other talented nominees) – Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. Sheer Raw depth and Emotion – Loved her!
We’ll see how I make out with the predictions on Sunday, April 28.
*I have a question for Quentin Tarantino re The Hateful Eight. How come the stagecoach road in a movie set in the 1800’s was constantly plowed? How was it plowed? This is important. Did anyone else notice?
I want to start a category for best dressed at the OSCARS and also one for sheer entertainment (not acting, not directing, just an all around FUN movie). What do you think?
Any thoughts? I can’t wait to watch something stupid. SISTERS & Zoolander next!
If you live in VANCOUVER or are just visiting you must experience the HOTTEST NEW ATTRACTION over at Canada Place.
I went with three others yesterday and absolutely loved it. It was so thrilling and you really feel like you’re flying and can even feel sensation of the elements. I loved it so much that I wished it lasted longer.
You will fly above the electrifying city of Shanghai, the snow-peaked Himalayas, and the majestic Great Wall before immediately lifting off again for an absolutely amazing flight over Canada (including Niagara Falls and the Rockies), as part of this limited-engagement event. I can’t say it enough….it was extremely exhilarating.
See Flight of the Dragon (for a limited time only) and FlyOver Canada back-to-back!
January 14th – March 6, 2016
Daily from 10AM until 9PM
What to Expect
Start your experience off in our pre-show room, where you will see beautiful festive theming and still images of Chinese New Year celebrations. Then, buckle up your seatbelt and get prepared for the virtual flight ride. First, follow a mythical dragon as you soar over some of China’s most spectacular landscapes and scenery during Flight of the Dragon, a unique 6 minute flight ride experience. Then, stay seated and take off again to experience, the Ultimate Flying Ride, FlyOver Canada, a thrilling virtual flight ride that takes you across Canada from east-to-west. Both rides incorporate state of the art special effects including wind, scents and mist.
The complete experience will last between 20 – 25 minutes.
Entrance times are every 20 minutes
Please note that the queuing area is partially exposed to the elements. Please dress accordingly for the weather particularly on weekends when it’s possible there may be wait times. To purchase tickets now, click here!
Beyoncé Owning IT – In Fine FORMATION
Watch (warning – explicit lyrics & amazing choreography):
With a really cool skincare product….
I keep this soothing green roller in the fridge standing among the many hot sauces and just grab it when I need a little pick me up. It has caffeine as one of the ingredients (to wake up your eyes) which is supposed to reduce puffiness and under-eye bags to brighten up the eye area.
I can’t vouch for that completely because I don’t have big dark circles (except for when I don’t sleep) but for convenience sake, and for those times when you don’t have a cucumber handy or you’re feeling too lazy to even slice one up, it works like a charm.
This gel formula with Antioxidant Vitamin C, Mint, and Caffeine has a micro-stimulating roll-on applicator to help de-puff and reduce the look of under-eye bags. Fake a more rested look!
You can purchase this product in almost any drugstore – USD $12.99 (price may vary).
Have you tried it?