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The Vibrant Colors of Vietnam’s Hoi An

July 18, 2015 by  

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I had been travelling in Vietnam for just over a week – faced the wonderfully chaotic streets of Hanoi, taken the “less traveled” hiking rout through Cat Ba National Park, crawled through the mud-filled Dark Cave of Phong Nha in a bathing suit and hard hat, weathered what I thought at the time was a monsoon in a hut on Nam Cat island. And there, in South Central Vietnam off the coast of the South China Sea, I arrived at a magical town called Hoi An – a city whose name literally translates into “peaceful meeting place.” A Photo Essay of Hoi An Vietnam It’s a modern-day paradise in the wrapper of an ancient city. Hoi An was a trading port during the 15th through 19th centuries and is one of few places in Vietnam that have been preserved since that time. The street plans and architecture are a beautiful fusion of Japanese, Chinese and European influence that has been maintained over the years. As a visitor, your job here is to rise early and get lost in the magic…

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A Cultural Snapshot of Panama & its People

July 6, 2015 by  

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I am reflecting on all the amazing people I met in Panama during my trip this Spring. In some cities, it’s the architecture that really blows me away and for others, it’s the food. In Panama, I fell in love with the people. Sure, the food was delicious, the buildings colorful and the culture vibrant, but ultimately, it’s the people that left the biggest and boldest impression on me. Here are a few of my favorite snapshots.

Look me in the eye

Here’s a close-up of one of the girls pictured above. I used to wear my hair the very same way, which of course, reminded me how different my childhood was from hers. I grew up in an upper-middle class home, attended private school and lived in a comfortable house with my own room. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that, I couldn’t help but feel guilty after peeking into this girl’s home, because she doesn’t have the things that I did…that I do. Yet, she is happier than most people. I was really inspired by her natural confidence and her positive attitude. She really didn’t have to say much to convey her strength. It’s just there in her being.

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Ethelbert Cooper Gallery for African & African-American Art to Showcase “Black Chronicles II” Photo Exhibit

June 23, 2015 by  

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This event sounded fascinating and as a lover of photography and history, I wanted to alert you to an upcoming exhibit that starts this fall in Boston. The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery for African & African-American Art will present the U.S. premiere of “Black Chronicles II,” an exhibition curated by London-based arts agency Autograph ABP that explores the presence of black subjects in 19th and early 20th century British photography. The stunning mix of rare and mostly never-seen images depicts both ordinary and prominent citizens — artists, dignitaries, servicemen, missionaries, students, businessmen and international royalty — captured in portraits by professional photographers. “Black Chronicles II” will run from September 23 to December 11, 2015 at the Cooper Gallery in Harvard Square Cambridge, an easy 15 minutes from downtown Boston. Developed through original research in the holdings of national archives and several private collections in the U.K. – primarily in collaboration with Getty Images’ Hulton Archive – the exhibition includes more than 100 photographs taken in studios across Britain before 1938.  A majority of the photographs were made in the latter half of the 19th century, during the Victorian Era. The exhibition’s focus is a newly rediscovered series of…

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Jerome Arizona, an Artsy Eclectic Getaway on the Side of a Cliff

June 21, 2015 by  

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If you have Arizona’s Grand Canyon on your agenda and are coming in from another country, you may not have time to explore the surrounding area depending on the length of your trip and where else you have scheduled in the states on your itinerary. That said, I’d recommend three additional stops, all an easy (and beautiful) drive from the Grand Canyon. First up, you’ll hit Sedona Arizona if you head south on the Flagstaff road and be greeted with stunning views and majestic red rocks and canyons on all sides. It is known to be a spiritual place with its vortexes, abundance of spas and healing centers and easy access to natural beauty. Read my write-up on Sedona which has useful links to other resources, including restaurants and tours. Sedona is more well known than some of the smaller towns in and around Sedona which can be done in a lovely southernly loop that takes in both the town of Prescott and Jerome.  You can also visit both towns on a side trip from Phoenix as well. While we did not make it to Prescott in our most recent trip in February, I’ve visited a couple of times in…

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How About a Personalized Coconut Postcard from Molokai?

June 19, 2015 by  

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Custom postcards molokai hawaii Coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut vinegar – we are coo coo for coconuts. It seems like every time I come back to the US there is another coconut fad that has hit the shelves. It always makes me chuckle to myself when I see the beautifully branded coconut water products on the shelves and I think of all of the women in Vietnam, India, and Sri Lanka selling coconuts on the side of the road. The kind where someone chops it open right there in front of you and sticks a straw in it – talk about farm to table…that’s the real thing. Coconut is not just used for food; it actually may be the most versatile item in the world. They can be used for starting fires, making ropes & baskets, furniture making, drums, brooms, toothbrush – and how can we forget the infamous coconut bra and Monty Python coconut horse trotting sound! And when I walked into the Hoolehua post office in Molokai, I found yet another use for coconuts that I never could have imagined – as a postcard.

Post-a-Nut – the Ultimate Custom Postcard



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Head to the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion for Bluegrass, Country, Rock & Soul

June 18, 2015 by  

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I had the chance to learn about the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion when I drove from Virginia to Tennessee in January. It isn’t an ordinary music festival, but they tout themselves as an infectious, three-day music experience, bursting with creative passion, electricity, and soul. Every third weekend in September, State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia, is amped to the beat of Appalachia’s past, present, and future. It digs down deep into the roots of traditional Appalachian sound and lifts its branches to new heights. It all happens in the heart of The Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol, the site of the Bristol Sessions. This year’s date is September 18-20, 2015, which marks its 15th anniversary and they expect more than 60,000 festivarians, artists, volunteers, and vendors, and well over 20 outdoor and indoor stages boasting more acts of live music that is sure to keep you dancing for three days. Known for booking “musician’s musicians,” the festival takes great care in selecting just the right combination of powerhouse headliners, emerging stars-on-the-rise, and the area’s elite regional and local talent. It isn’t uncommon to see artists among the crowds watching other bands alongside fans. The…

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Meet Clarksdale Mississippi, the Birthplace & Heart of the Delta Blues

June 8, 2015 by  

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Travel the back roads between American Highways 49 and 61 in search of Lost Superstitions and the spirits of Sam Cooke, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Son House and Elmore James. Head into Clarksdale Mississippi, the birthplace and heart of the Delta Blues and tour the Delta Blues Museum, Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art, The Ranchero, Rock “n Roll Blues Heritage Museum and Hambone Art Gallery. Below is a mural painted on the side of one of the older buildings in Clarksdale, a shot I took on our cross country journey earlier this year. We hadn’t planned on going to Mississippi so it ended up being a detour after I learned that it was the birthplace of the blues and we were bound to hear some great authentic music in town. Unfortunately although we his great weather most of the way, we crossed the state border in gray skies with lots of clouds – the air was damp and the trees were bare as we were smack in the middle of winter. Cooler than we anticipated, we headed straight for Clarksdale, which was less than a two hour drive from Memphis Tennessee,…

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Experience China’s Fashion at The MET’s The Looking Glass Exhibit

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CEgoB7RWYAAwflw Every year while our long awaited warm weather settles in, there is another welcome arrival in my beloved NYC.  It defines the NYC summer season, makes a permanent mark on the cultural scene, and is referenced for years to come. The must-see event for Spring/Summer of 2015 is China: Thru the Looking Glass, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual thematic exhibit representing the fabulous talents and vision from their glorious Costume Institute. The moment you enter the initial palatial sized room of the exhibit you are gobsmacked.  It’s as if Shangri-la has been realized. The mystical tone, the exotic soundtrack, the mysterious lighting–immediately you reach an exotic sensory overload.  I swear Yves St. Laurent’s landmark perfume, Opium, scents the air, so strong is the atmosphere. How appropriate!  Timeless ultra sheik designer dresses are highlighted as viewed thru another layer–a looking glass–and mirrored over the centuries by Orientalism.  For instance, there are fantastic contemporary designs by the world’s top fashion designers yet artfully mirrored alongside are the actual 18th century kimonos which define the chosen color and pattern. Each and every room in this exhibit has its own distinct, imaginative manner of accenting its thematic treasures.  This extraordinary…

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