Monday, December 31, 2007

Edinburgh Hogmanay: Tips

Andrew and I strive to set our priorities where the plunging dollar is concerned. We've found this delightful hotel that is a serviced apartment complex that allows us to cook and mull about at our leisure. We've saved a few $$ making our breakfasts, washing our clothes, and in the evening kicking back with a bottle of wine.

Just around the corner is a convenience store for incidentals; we're on the bus line to an exemplary grocery store; and just down a block from a fully stocked wine store.

Overheard: I heard this next line in a comedy routine, but now, for the love of Bacchus, I heard this with my own 2 ears. A gaggle of very young women, just at drinking age, entered the wine shop and walking thru clumsily completely bewildered by all the pretty labels. Lil Miss Blonde bumps into me as she informs her minion as she pulls down a bottle with her mittens and flips it upside down, that the depth of the punt dictates the quality of wine.

"OMG, I didn't just hear that!?" "Uh, yes we did." We asked the storekeep if he could erect a sign about the punts and their relationship to wine, and he just laughed. "Just nod, smile, and let it go," he instructed. We all roared.

Where do they learn this stuff?

Electric Converter Tip - When travelling abroad, bring more than one converter. This will allow you to multi-task your electronic components -if you're tech-dependent like us. I didn't want to be so much on this trip, but I realize that if I can blog along the way, I don't have to remember what I did last week.

Travel Diary Tip - If you want to keep a travel diary in artist sketchbook form, bring a journal and write about your senses and take photos like crazy. Remember that they're not for public consumption, these swipe files will help when you sketch a vignette later. I've taken hundreds of photos that include crap like garbage, modern conveniences, and people and my audience will never know it when I contrive a bucolic scene.

Travel Blog Tip - If you want to keep a consecutive diary based on dates, entered several draft titles on each day so that you can enter your posts later; this also works if you want to elaborate later and include a note about details forthcoming.

Overheard: One Scot telling a visitor, "It's not raining, therefore it's a nice day."

Clothing Tips - Dress for the weather
Each part of the world has its own intrinsic climate disposition, just be prepared for it. Andrew is relentless when it comes to checking weather forecasts, alas, many of the online sites conflict. Me? Because it's late December, I dress in layers regardless and just look up at the sky for rain, sun, or snow.

Before you depart, shop for staples like:

Good shoes I'm not talking about bringing your Jimmy Choos, I'm referring to the Winter comfort mocks from LLBean. Rubber soles are a good thing -specially walking on slick, wet cobblestone.

A good coat. When salespersons ask what you're looking for, it's okay to tell them that you're shopping for your honeymoon that's taking place in the Europe. I had my ideal coat visualized (a long faux sherling) until a number of salespersons were actually from the UK instructing me that I need to dress for wet. While that turned my shopping on it's head, I had to toss that proverbial coin: dress to impress or dress for my health. I don't have sacrifice style, but because we saw the dollar dropping like crazy, I opted for my Columbia Double Whammy purchased 3 years ago. I also brought my leather coat and have had the chance to wear it in London -a little warmer and a little dryer.

If a not-so-handsome coat befalls you, one can always dress from the neck up:

  • A great scarf (forgot my Stewart plaid at home dammit),
  • A great hat (love my Princess Diana hat purchased several years ago),
  • A simple pair of earrings (make sure they lock -walking is a serious sport and you don't want to lose them); and
  • Tinted lip balm (Neutrogena is one of my favs).
Assuredly, you'll crop your photos from the chest up anyway, so don't even let the double lined coats make you feel self-conscious.

Clothing wise, I've been a very happy camper through-out our trip.

Photo Tips - If you're feeling a bit self-conscious about your weight, you might want to rethink your fear of being infront of the camera. I'll elaborate more later, but for now, you can always plan your photo-ops with only the head, shoulders, and a important element in the background.

For instance, last night, I finally broke down and bought a Stewart tartan blanket. I set up the digital camera on timer and snuggled under it w/Andrew. Unfortunately, my head looked as big as Shrek's and deformed. Today, I'll try another pose -like wrapping the blanket around our shoulders and having Andrew do the arm stretched-out self-portrait trick -he's getting very good at that.

With this, I'll be able to look back at these photos fondly without being reminded that I couldn't get my "svelteness" back before our trip.

Additional details forthcoming.

Edinburgh: Hat's Off to Compliments!!

Mae West said, "I'd rather be looked over than overlooked." I'd agree with that.

So, I'm trying to come up with an appropriate title for this entry:

Judging a girl by her hat...
A hat of many styles...
A hat by any other name...

Perhaps I should explain. I have to come clean: I love hats. I don't normally wear them 'round town because it's too warm for Raleigh unless I'm working out. Plus, I get major hat hair due to my painfully thin hair and oily scalp. All one has to do is breathe on my hair to get a reactionary... oh, never mind. I digress. But for the love of Jackie O, I love hats. My old high school chums would agree.

Several years ago, I bought a inexpensive, chic, alabaster, albeit synthetic hat to wear for skiing. Skiing was a disaster: sprained my knee but got looked after by a cute doctor. This chic hat I have dubbed, "Princess Diana hat," I believe, possesses a certain charm. Similar to Jim Carey in "The Mask" but oh-so-much prettier. My Princess Di hat is a great looking hat and I must say, looks great on me. (insert smug smile) From the looks and reactions I got in Europe, other's thought so, too.

Usually, my attempt to remain modest is pretty successful. Once in a while, however, I must speak out when something so provocative becomes patently obvious and in this case, I'm happy with the way my jaw bone relates to hat. Please don't call me conceited. I swear, it's the artist and designer within that is always working 'round the clock to make the world a better designed place to live. This includes being brutally honest with myself like, "sure my hips are widening, but how do we play them up or down?" Or, this house is getting cluttered, how do we eliminate the clutter, or better yet, hide it since we'll never really be rid of it?

Disguises and enhancements: that's my design key to life.
I was taught to approach one's wardrobe by a simple mantra: recognize the fads vs fashion. Make the staples in your wardrobe workhorses so that one can play with accessories to move effortlessly like a chameleon through-out the day. Choosing timeless classics allows one flexibility no matter where you find yourself.

New Year's Eve in Edinburgh was due to be a clear but chilly night, so I donned my Princess Di hat. Mind you, I had been wearing this hat all week and but heard not a word, until tonight. My Princess Di hat is not currently 'in season,' but I didn't care. I love the hat and it's a classic style. While waiting for the fireworks display to begin at the castle, we'd make impromptu friends. One gent on the street came up and complimented me on my hat. Took me by surprise, but made me feel cozy inside, although Andrew was doing a fine job of that, he always does.

To wish you were dressed differently is to waste the moment at hand.
Moments become minutes, minutes become hours and suddenly, you've wasted the evening pining over what you could never be: yourself. If you're confident in what your wearing, then you will glow.

I'm glowing blue.

Case in point: Andrew scored tickets to the newly created event "Hoog" in Edinburgh during Hogmanay. 'Hoog' was created because the last 2 years, the New Year's Eve street party was cancelled, due to small issues like 80mph winds. While many of the women were dressed to kill, I was dressed to keep my *ss from freezing off. When we walked in amidst the sea of glorious tartan, the women were dressed in scantily clad chiffon dresses; I got the chills just looking at all the bare skin. We were dressed well, but humbly. My basic ensemble consisted of black dress jeans, a black v-neck sweater, and my oh-so-comfortable brown sporto heels -basic and boring from a partier's perspective. I pinned my Edward Gorey skating cat (often found on my hat) onto my newly purchased tartan wool scarf worn like a Scottish Bridal sash across the shoulder, dangling from my ears were my amethyst drop earrings, and proudly baking my head was my Princess Diana Hat. I didn't dare take off the hat because of the horrendous hat hair.

Having never attended this gala before and not being included in the apparel memo, we managed to make light and did our best to ‘blend in.’ Heh, who am I kidding, I stuck out –I was the only chick wearing pants. Moving from room to raucous room, we'd find the music we liked the best and danced. We loved the blue room where I took a few minutes of footage of dancing tartans (to be uploaded soon). In this room, we suddenly were tossed into a ring of 6 and dancing the Ceilidh (pro. kay-lee). The music so loud I kept telling our new partners that I had no idea what a Ceilidh is –I’ve never seen it before. I can usually muddle my way thru and when I actually know what I'm doing, most have said I’m a good dancer, but I swear these traditional community dances were much like a contact sport.

To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.
Once this band finished, we all moved across the gallery like cattle to the next hall to take out the next unassuming batch of innocents. We were dodging bodies to find an open space and at that moment, a tall young Scot (think a tall Hugh Grant) in full regalia, sporran and all, stopped entertaining the group of ladies he was surrounded by. We stood face to face, the women parted like a horseshoe to allow me space and the Scot bent down and whispered in my ear with his English accent,“I-love-your-hat.” Grabbing my left hand, he kissed it and said something like, “You-look-maaag-nif-icent.” From a romantic’s point of view, the moment had it all. I just chuckled and thanked him.

Andrew and I both giggled, then moved into the room and danced until we were kicked out; we were just a couple of happy-go-lucky Hobbits at home in the shire.

Lesson to be learned? To thine own self be true. If you love it and you know it looks good on you, by all means wear it. Wear it proudly. You might just get kissed in front of all the other girls.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Museum of Scotland

Having visited the museum 10 years ago, Andrew encouraged us to take in this marvelous Museum of Scotland while it rained.

We had only 2 hours to view the exhibits, so I flipped a coin to determine which floors to hit first. Argh! What a deliberation. Hooray for me, they allowed photographs!! Woo-hoo!

Initially, I wanted to hit the Victorian floor first, but then decided that when I saw primitive exhibit 'round the corner, I fluttered in like a moth to flame.

A Macabre SideNote
We came upon one of the first horse-drawn hearses introduced from Bolton, East Lothian. The use began in the 1780s when the Victorians evolved their mourning process into an elaborate etiquette that included accessories and even a funeral invitation! I thought this would be a fabulous invite for a Halloween party. If anyone decides to do this -please send me one!

Edinburgh: A Haunted Side

Upon reading much of the haunted sightings within Scotland, the Greyfriars Kirk (Scottish for "church") is renowned for spirits reaching thru and pinching people -specially after dark.

We got a late start, our honeymoon MO, but we just had to make a detour this morning to Candlemaker Row before our tour thru the Museum of Scotland. Oh-kay, it was early afternoon, but we had to walk about the most haunted grounds in Britain and take some captivating photos of headstones, graves, burial vaults, mausoleums, memorials, and even a former prison.

Some find the grounds creepy, but I found them quite comforting -call me weird. The landscape was undulating and filled with extremely beguiling architecture. What I found most intriguing is that some memorials appeared as though they had built-in hearths -it's as though it beckoned one to build a fire and hang about for awhile.

Update: I picked up a couple of books about Edinburgh's haunted and sininster side and discovered that this graveyard is one of the most noteably haunted.

More details forthcoming.

Greyfriars Bobby

For all of you animal lovers out there, you'll tear up over this story.

A famous Skye Terrier, this little dog now know as Greyfriars Bobby, was very devoted to his master John Gray. For fourteen years the dead man's faithful dog kept constant watch and guard over the grave until his own death fourteen years later.

It's reported that at the 1 o'clock gun, Bobby is seen leaving the grave for his midday meal. Dammit I missed it-too busy taking photos at another graveyard down the Royal Mile. Doh!

Edinburgh: Our Apartment

Ideal accommodations in Edinburgh: an apartment by Holyrood apartHotel.

Located just off the Royal Mile and a 5 minute walk to the Holyrood Palace, this apartment was a gem found by Andrew that allowed us to rent 7 days for the price of 4!! For the most part, this virtual tour looks exactly like the luxury apartment we rented, sans disabled ingress. Psfth! Had we known this online tour existed, I wouldn't have taken the pains to clean up and move our crap around to hide it from the camera lens.

While Andrew made us our first breakfast in the kitchen, I appreciated the relaxed style of lodging we booked for the last leg of our trip. Our kitchen was fully stocked with all of the appliances one would need including rather fast electric kettle for hot tea. A combination washer/dryer was also found in the kitchen, along with a dishwasher, small fridge, & microwave (we never used it). Simple spices could be found along with pots, pans, utensils (most importantly-a corkscrew), dishware and bar glasses. We certainly didn't hesitate to find our way to the nearest wine store and grocery.

Tech Tip: Be sure to bring at least 2 converters. If you're tech types like us and carry cameras, laptops, iPods, and such, you'll want to multi-task those for charging or just plain using.

Tech Tip 2: Be sure to check your new purchased appliances; you may not need a transformer as most are now capable of working with both 240volt and 120volt electrical systems.

Laundry Tip: If you can manage, find an apartment for your stay as they just might have a washer-dryer combo as ours did. Also, I've discovered that many European hotels have warming bars in the bathroom to heat your towels. If you're anything like me, you might pull your clothes from the dryer while still damp -make the heater bars work hard for you- they're fabulous. Jeans dried completely in half a day. Love those heater bars -I want to install a few in our house -including the laundryroom!!!

Details forthcoming.

TorchLight Procession: My Inner Pagan Outed!

One of the reasons we're in Edinburgh during this time of year is because we're Scots and because the Scots know how to party. I've never been known to be a 'party girl' by any stretch, but Hogmanay is a week long party with a variety of venues from which to choose.

Andrew and I scored tickets to enjoy the Torchlight Procession that starts in the Edinburgh's Old Town. Accompanied by pipes and drums the entire way to Calton Hill, we participated in the walking river of fire with thousands of others and celebrated by watching the burning of a lifesize Viking longboat and a willow effigy: a Stag. While both burned brightly, we were entertained spectacular fireworks.

This procession is borrowed and adopted by Viking traditions and they claim that true Viking warriors come from Shetland to Edinburgh to help carry the longboat up on Calton Hill and set it alight. Edinburgh sends the proceeds of the sales from the wax torches to their favorite charity.

I can only imagine if Raleigh did something like this, they'd burn a giant acorn only after they were able to hurdle over the unlucky burn victims lying on Hillsborough street.

Additional Details & Slideshow Forthcoming.

Edinburgh Castle or Citadel?

We finally made it to the castle on a relatively clear day. I usually like explorations to unfold before me, revealing surprises along the way without a map that tends to dictate what one must see.

Andrew was excited to show me the castle. What I didn't realize that it's actually a citadel, a fortress that is comprised of several components that make up a city that also ensures loyalty from the town that they're defending.

I just love the angles and slopes that grounds like this provide. I did my best to keep people out of my compositions, but unfortunately, there were hundreds walking about doing the same thing I was doing. Quite a challenge trying to stay out of someone else's photo.

My work around was to move the camera up, just above the heads to get some great shots, although, getting cobblestone and moss helps provide grounding for one's work. I'll have to use the comps that include as reference files for my journal sketching -I may even use the people in period costumes.

Additional Details & Slideshow Forthcoming.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Elizabeth of Raleigh, Queen of the Scots

This is a quick and dirty of our recent adventures through the Palace of the HolyroodHouse in Edinburgh. I must say, the chambers of Mary Queen of Scots is much smaller than as depicted in any literature I've examined.

Meanwhile, take a look thru some of the photos Andrew and I have stolen across the grounds.

After we finished our self-guided tour, I told the organizer that I was Elizabeth of Raleigh, Queen of the Scots and have come to reclaim my throne -he didn't laugh. It's probably because he wasn't a Stewart. *snort*

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Arrival: Edinburgh

With only an hour of day light remaining, we stopped to grab a bite from a local pub and walk the Royal Mile up to the Edinburgh Castle. However, by the time we arrived, it was 4:30 and pitch dark!! We resolved to enjoy the castle in all its splendor during the only few hours of daylight Scotland sees during this time of year. I guess this means we'll actually haf ta git 'p aat a decent 'our. Pftshth!!

Additional Details Forthcoming

We beg Mea Culpa during our trip. Our Internet connection isn't as prevalent as our home high speed connection and for that we apologize. Because we're out having fun and running ourselves ragged enjoying sights, sounds, and brew, our ability to blog and comment isn't as frequent as I'd like.

We hope that by providing quick and dirty entries that help bookmark dates, we'll be able to augment and enhance them upon our return. Oh, and that might include slideshows and travel sketches. Okay everyone, say "Ohhhhhhhh."

Thought so!!! :)

Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Boxing Day!!!

Our day began early with a stop at Apostrophe for a little coffee, quiche Lorraine, a banana, and internet connection to quickly check email and upload two entries to the blog. Shortly thereafter, a walk that included both Shakespeare and Dickens filled the rest of our morning. For me, history is only interesting when it surrounds literature, architecture, or art, and this, at the very least, included literature and architecture.

As brutal time in London, I don’t romanticize the victorian period as the economic, political, & the social class unrest were enough to get one into trouble. I know that I had lived in that period, my outspokenness would have gotten me either sold, hung, or eviscerated.

I’m so relieved that today was a clear and sunny day for sightseeing.

After a brief stop at a coffee shop, we moved on to a visit of the Westminster Abbey (adjacent to Big Ben) before it closed at 4pm. Crowded but fascinating, we’ll have to make sure that when we return, we include a recorded tour in the ticket. Evidently, photos were once allowed, but forbidden for the past few years within the structure. Whether it’s because of the devastating flash from the camera or post 911, I dunno, but I was disappointed because I couldn’t take the photos for which I hoped. The enclaves, niches, paintings on wood, frescos on stone, enameling on metal, I could not take away any kind of imagery today -even the museum shop was closed making any purchases of comprehensive photographic books impossible to take away. Psfth!!

Who wants to see great calligraphic plaques from the poets corner?? I know I want to pour over them at my leisure.

Meanwhile, we made plans to return to Harrod’s to pick up goodies for the extended family and ourselves. Alas, it was closed for Boxing Day.

Sigh. We’re leaving tomorrow for Edinburgh, so timing is bad. I’m sure we’ll find new gems on the last leg our of honeymoon.

Additional details forthcoming.

Happy Christmas!!

Waking late again, I woke Andrew announcing that it was 12:40pm and green parrots in the garden the tree!! Bizarre but true. We remained inside for most of the cold and rainy day taking photos of the green parrots, white ring necked doves, and watching movies. Eventually, the sun broke thru the heavy rain clouds and tantalized us to take a quick walk outside -and quick it was.

While it was chilly, Andrew and I walked arm in arm down Ladbroke Square spying families having Christmas dinner in their front windows. One woman was quietly readying her table for her imminent guests that have yet to arrive, a bouquet of flatware wrapped in white linen filled her hand as she polished the silver one by one before laying each piece in its place. Another home revealed a trompe l’oeil jungle scene with a leopard sitting atop a door frame with his tail casually dropped by the door.

Around the corner, we unearthed an open convenience store where we bought crackers, cheese, assorted green tea, and a box of our new favorite cookies: Bahlsen First Class Milk Chocolate crisp wafers.

Andrew was in charge of heating dinner while I prepared cheese and crackers and wine. It was a sweet little dinner with just the 2 of us and Vince Gauraldi playing in the background.

Additional Details Forthcoming.

Christmas Eve

Waking late, we found ourselves sauntering through London enjoying the holiday atmosphere at Harrod’s and Covet Garden during the hustle and bustle of last minute purchases. Because I took a 3 week hiatus from working out, my gluts were really paying the price walking up sets and sets of stairs within the Tube stations. I made a vow to my body that I would continue hard core cardio when we return to the States.

Later, we stopped at Tesco to purchase a food backup plan should we have difficulty finding a restaurant on our own for Christmas Dinner: Chocolate chip muffins, mixed nuts, granola & yogurt, juice for breakfast; water, vegetable winter soup, chicken soup, rolls, a chicken pot pie, and wine for dinner.

At about 8, we met up with our friends, Claire and Dawba at one of their favorite haunts. Wine, club sandwiches and philosophy filled our Christmas Eve when we found ourselves at their house with Bailey’s, chips, and some incredibly peppery hors d’oeurves.

We returned to our borrowed flat at about 1:30 am and enjoy a little holiday cheer of our own.

Additional Details Forthcoming.

Infamous London Fog

Our 2 hour trip from Munich to London on Sunday collided with the infamous London Fog. Thick, dense, and icy. Needless to say, our 2 hours expanded into 6!!

Our friend Claire insisted that we meet she and her family at a local pub for dinner. It was a heartwarming introduction to London during the holidays. Wine, chicken & fish pot pies, rum and raisin ice cream and yet, more wine. I feel like we're home.

Additional information forthcoming.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christkindlmarkt Munchen with Sayuri

We were to meet Sayuri at the Marienplatz post office immediately after Munich's famous glockenspiel musical performance -very cloak and dagger!

About the Glockenspiel:
Taped music accompanies carved figures jousting and doing the Schalffertanz (Cooper's Dance), first done by barrel makers in the Marienplatz in 1517 at the end of the Black Death plague.

Munich was filled with wonderful architecture, built thru the ages. Having only 2 days, it was extremely difficult to focus my eye on both the markets and the architecture. Fortunately for us, Sayuri showed us a few key buildings that revealed some nuggets of fortune. Inside city hall, exposed several gargoyles that highlighted several levels of the structure. The high sun also jeopardized the lighting subtleties within the space, making composition perplexing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We Made it to Munich

Just a quick post to let everyone know we finally made it to Munich last night. Our flight from London was about 2 hours late getting in, so we were not able to hit any of the Christmas Markets before they closed, but we did do a bit of wandering and found a nice beer hall for dinner. We'll post more later today/this evening, but did discover that Internet connections are charged by the minute so they will most likely be brief.

Munich City Scenes:

Hotel Sofitel: I believe this is the most hardworking room I've ever experienced.

  • Hidden behind the curtains is an expandable desk -I'm having Andrew install them in every corner of our house.
  • The bath can be completely closed off for privacy -what's the point in a king size bed? It may be difficult to see in this photo, but the entire bath can be closed w/a giant glass door hinged on barndoor mechanics.
  • Additionally, there is one door that moves on another barndoor hinge between the toilet and shower. Who needs 2 doors?
  • The trashcan is operated by a foot lever.
  • The bathtub has 2 faucets: one waterfall deafening, one silent. Didn't matter to me, the tub kept the water warm for a very long time. I almost drowned in it from falling asleep!
  • The shower has to shower heads: one streaming, one waterfall.
  • The TV oscillates and is on an articulated shelf
We've got footage on a little digicam (bathroom only folks!! sorry to disappoint), but we need to finalize the disk before we can upload it. Video Forthcoming!

Business Class and the Crying Class

Travelling with Andrew is always charmed: we renewed our Admiral’s club membership and it’s worth it. If you don’t travel frequently, then I’d recommend getting a day pass (~$50) because the admiral’s club affords you a stress free experience prior to your flights. First, the noise free insulated room takes one away from the chaos of the airport; free internet usage (if you don’t have a computer) or WIFI connection, coffee, treats, TV, and bar. We experienced exceptional JFK’s Admiral’s lounge we managed to score 4 vouchers for drinks -that equates to 2 glasses of wine each -nice!

Also, Andrew managed to upgrade our flight from JFK to Heathrow to Business Class -this was the sweetest luxury we were able to experience for the bulk of our flight. Imagine collapsing in a Barcalounger with pillow and duvet for a transatlantic trip that includes champagne to inaugurate the flight. Additionally, we were given a wonderful little toiletry kit that included toothbrush & paste, green tea face wash cloth, eye mask, lip balm, body balm, socks and other miscellany all rolled up in a neat shoe bag. Meanwhile, we had all the wine you can drink, a great dinner while watching the movie of your choice. We awoke to breakfast and a voucher to use the Arrival Lounge that provides luxury showers & bath before moving on to your next destination.

Our connecting flight to Munich was late, but I wasn’t annoyed -until we boarded with 5 crying babies the entire way; the screams exhibited a pinball effect thru-out the fuselage. I’m thinking that perhaps we deserved this headache pounding inconvenience after having such a marvelous trip across the pond -not everything can go so well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pre-Travel Prep: Luggage Tags

We've got 45 minutes before the livery arrives for our honeymoon!!

Recommended by experts and travel enthusiasts, our globalbagtags finally arrived last night. We're told that they will aid in our search should anything happen to our luggage.

Happy Holidays!!

Update: We were fortunate to never have a lost bag, so the globalbagtags were never tested.

Pre-Travel Prep: Pedicures & Manicures

I'm sooo glad we got our fingers and toes done this week -it was a fun break from the hectic holiday & travel preparations we're enduring. We encouraged our friend Jim (who is going into surgery this week) that this is something that every man should experience just once. However, the clincher is that once he goes in, he won't be a stranger to this type of hedonism in his life.

Sorry Jim, just had to include you!

For you guys still questioning your own sexuality, ask yourself this:

What red-blooded American male wouldn't want a woman at their feet, washing and cleaning toe jam out, massaging their feet, applying lotion and talc? It is the best experience ever! Oh, and usually, the nail shops will include a small discount if you add a manicure to the event: we indulged in paraffin wax on our hands.

Ohhhhhh, I want more!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Swashbuckling Kitty Stocking

As an early Christmas present, I created a little leather and suede stocking for my friend Jim who is fostering my kitty, Pip.

Jim loved the stocking, let's just hope that Pip does too.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Technology Overload

Is it possible to get too overwhelmed with cool techie devices? I'm beginning to think so.

My battery in my mobile phone would no longer hold a charge, so I was forced to consider upgrading the phone entirely. So, now after doing a quick search thru Consumer Reports to determine the best rated phone -I just need to make/receive calls, vm, and have a comprehensive contact library- I arrived at three contenders through Verizon:

The Razor (Andrew already has one)
The Juke (isn't Web enabled, should I need it)
The Chocolate (fun name)

Because I had reluctantly settled with "the idea" of purchasing a new phone, I had had the daunting task of choosing the phone that would suit my needs, as minimal as they are. *Sigh*

Ooooooookay, I'll piiiick the Choooc'late. I want it in the great burgundy color that reminds me of a chocolate raspberry torte.

You probably can't sense the sarcasm thru my entry (I'm getting very tired) but I was delighted to learn that any photos I take can be extracted by using a card, rather than sending one-by-expensive one to my email. Now, between filling orders, I'm desperately reading the manual to figure out this gadget, because what I really want to do is finish my tutorials on video publishing!!

Weekend WrapUp

Andrew and I are attempting to enjoy this last weekend at home before the trip.

I'm finishing handmade items like this Lucky Ladybug in Sterling as we watch the last-minute rush on our site for the orders. Looks like we'll have to make more frames for prints this weekend!

Meanwhile, I surprised Andrew with dinner at our favorite Sushi Restaurant (they bow to us there!) Friday night, where we continued to run errands for miscellaneous shopping.

My goal was to find a cheap battery for my phone that wouldn't make me feel like the punch line of a bad joke -I have only 2 months before I can upgrade my mobile to a new one -I'm so close. The folks at Best Buy checked into my account and discovered that I was eligible to upgrade on Saturday. Saturday? Nuts, I don't want to think of mobile phones when I have several other items on my agenda to wrap-up. Took a deep breath and decided to check Consumer Reports for their ratings before I dive into more technology overload.

Saturday Night we enjoyed dinner w/my good friend Jim and have convinced him that he should bring a little hedonism into his life: we're all getting pedicures & manicures Tuesday morning! Yee-haw!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Handcrafted Gifts Schedule is Full

While Andrew believes that I have a problem as a design-a-holic, he's asking me to announce that we can no longer garantee handcrafted gifts before Christmas delivery.

However, you may still make your purchase, but it will not ship until after the New Year. If you are purchasing the handmade craft as a gift, please note it in the message at check-out as we will send your recipient this special notice that it's arriving soon!

Handmade gifts include luxe journals, framed prints, jewelry, pillows, scarves, and pet towels. Many of these pieces are created when the order is placed and I've only started my laundry for the trip! We do have a plethora of papergoods that include note cards and prints in inventory -so feel free to order- but only one day remains as we're closing our studio tomorrow!

Perhaps a gift certificate is in order? This will certainly take the ownership of selection off your shoulders -it's easy! If you purchase thru Paypal, this allows the recipient to track how much she's used. Or you can purchase the gift certificates with a personal check or credit card.

Thanks so much for your support.

An Easy Way of Staying in Touch

While we ready ourselves for the honeymoon of the century, I'm wrapping up any business obligations and excitement is finally taking a front seat.

Meanwhile, if you want to keep up with our travels over the holidays, you can always subscribe to this blog's RSS feed by selecting this button now or later at bottom of my right nav.

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If you're a newbie to understanding RSS feeds, I've discovered a video demonstration on how to subscribe. Please note, that this video is primarily for blog authors who want to publicize with feeds. However, as an enthusiast, you'll learn the everything you'll need to know about how to subscribe and which applications to use.

The video tutorial by Freevlog is only a few minutes, so please check it out.
Freevlog: Get An RSS Feed

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Surprise! iTouch, iMarket, iConnect

The value of the iTouch as an art marketing tool needs to be further explored.

If you're a professional artist as I am, I cannot express enough the importance of both blogging and now, the iTouch. Since a travel art portfolio in any form is the demand of collectors, galleries, and mfgs, these two (2) tools used in tandem are fabulous marketing vehicles that will keep us ahead of the pack.

Wait! Why am I telling you if I want to stay ahead of the pack? Simple: I like to see my friends succeed. So, if you're my friend, get an iTouch -and start that blog!!!!

Meanwhile, trolling thru my stats late last night, I discovered that Natasha Wescoat has found my recent love posting about the iTouch. She also exploited the idea of using the iTouch as an art portfolio by highlighting in a podcast. I can't wait to get my photos uploaded -I may just make a few friends and business colleagues in Europe next week!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Season of Surprises

Andrew and I are finding ourselves becoming increasingly excited out our impending honeymoon here, here, and here. While I fill more orders this week, I'm also finishing a few handmade pieces like this one shown to the left. This one is a surprise heading to New Mexico for a client -I'm told she loves birds.

NOTE: December 10th has now passed for handmade items by Christmas.