June 28, 2008

Possible offshore drilling in California, Florida and Alaska

President George W. Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to end a federal ban on offshore oil drilling and open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration....

Bush has said for years that he favors opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and in 2006 he signed into law a bill that expanded exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. But the topic of coastal drilling elsewhere has been an extremely sensitive one in the Bush family; Bush's father signed a presidential executive order in 1990 banning coastal oil exploration, and Bush's brother Jeb was an outspoken opponent of offshore drilling when he was governor of Florida.

Make your voice heard, write to your local congressman or woman!

June 27, 2008

A new take on vertical gardening

clipped from nymag.com
Rachel Selekman's Yellow Velvet Spray is at the Metaphor Contemporary Art in Brooklyn through July 20...

The spray looks like a 1970s starburst fiber optic lamp, doesn't it? Or it makes me picture hippies putting flowers inside the gun barrel of a soldier....

June 26, 2008

See, it is all about the scarf!

clipped from www.iht.com
Missoni's easy, breezy Mediterranean seashore collection was pulled together with a scarf. That item - long and draped, or short and tucked at the neckline - is fast becoming the leitmotif of the summer 2009 season.

Angela Missoni has lightened up, giving a Saint-Tropez feel (in its original glamorous incarnation) to the house's famous knits but adding soft safari jackets and cutoff denim shorts to the mix.

Finish reading about the glamour here.....
For travel or anytime you need a hint of color or poshness, I believe in the power of the scarf. Even for guys, and guys in this century!

June 24, 2008

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

...maybe he is scratching his head because he lost his way back to the rabbit hole?

Where is Alice when you need her?

June 22, 2008

Where have all the bees gone to?

Isn't this great? A cute and informative exhibit for kids on how bees and flowers live and work together.....

June 21, 2008

Services Offer to Send Travelers' Luggage First

clipped from online.wsj.com
Luggage Forward
$147 for medium suitcase (up to 40 lbs.), three-day delivery via UPS.
Pickup: UPS driver arrived within promised two-hour window. Delivery: Suitcase was delivered on time.
Having a packet with shipping label and tag sent in advance eased the process somewhat (a couple of other companies asked us to print the label ourselves). Plus, the representative did call to inform us that bag made it to destination. But is all that enough to justify not having to go through UPS ourselves?
I don't know about you, but I love the Cranky Consumer column in the Wall Street Journal. Not that I am admitting to this handle myself, but I do understand the world of travel is changing around us and sometimes we can get a little low blood sugar...

So this particular column on June 19th, outlines the different services for sending your luggage ahead. I think it is a great idea if you can afford it. And the option of cutting out the middle man if you can is a great idea too.

I'm showing here the one company that came out in the middle of the pack, for price and service. What do you think? Would you suck it up and take your stuff through the many hoops that are required now or skip ahead?

June 19, 2008

San Francisco the land of buttercream and rainbows

City officials plan to conduct up to 500 wedding ceremonies a day and issue an additional 250 licenses daily until demand eases...

If you are heading to the city for Pride 2008 or to walk down the aisle, call ahead. The city is busy and hotels are filling up!

Here are some quick picks to help and welcome you:
  1. A great resource and first step
  2. The local paper
  3. Before you buy, eat or stay - all sorts of reviews and recommendations from actual users

June 17, 2008

City Art

Wherever you travel, art can be found. And this lovely stairway outside is one example.

Here are some of my favorite spots with outdoor art:

  1. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
  2. Central Park in New York City
  3. Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
  4. Hyde Park in London
  5. Lake Lugano, Switzerland

Though you might be surprised it made the top of my list, the Post Ranch Inn has a beautiful large property that it resides on. As you walk to the yurt for your morning yoga session, you pass a series of sculptures situated into the landscape. Unexpected but beautifully placed. 

June 15, 2008

Off to the Market in Kenya's Capital

clipped from online.wsj.com
[Kikoi and handmade bag]
How to Find The Perfect Souvenir in Nairobi: At the Kariokor Market, located in the raffish Pangani neighborhood, visitors can see male artisans at work carving soapstone, tanning leather and cutting the treads off discarded tires to make the cheap, durable sandals nicknamed "African Reeboks". The women mainly string beads and sell the wares, but the older women can be seen sucking on the bark of balboa trees to soften strands that are then dyed and woven into handbags.

Haggling is expected at outdoor markets. Vendors generally quote non-residents a "Wazungu price," a Swahili word that roughly translates to European or tourist. So insist on the "real" price or the "resident" price and pretend you're a local.

Do you like to haggle? Are you an outdoor mercado type of person or do you prefer safe and restrained shopping malls? I'm all for buying art from a street vendor but when it comes to real shopping in another country, even after I have read the guidebook, I can't do it. I leave it to my significant other. My talent is strictly the good cop, not the bad cop. I cannot do math quickly in my head. Also, I am a visitor in another country so I am secretly trying to win over every person I meet along the way so that they have nothing but wonderful things to say about Americans.  Seriously.

Therefore, if like me you are unable to travel to Africa, I suggest stopping into the local Global Exchange or shop at the online store. They will have all the exotic items you are looking at a fair trade price. I have bought many items. And felt good about the price I paid as well.

June 13, 2008

Lily Pads

Green is in. Green TV. Green homes. Green thumbs. Green vacations. Even green jeans.

Here we have lovely lily pads from the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.  Are they and Kermit, the original?

It's not easy being green.

Photo credit: sfcphotography.com

June 11, 2008

The Sacred Valley of Peru

Anna D-C, a reader of this site and avid traveler, was recently in Peru and sent along these beautiful photos and write-up of her excursion.

Her writing may just cause you to forget about that stay home vacation (known as "staycations") and brave the airport chaos to explore Peru and the Inca ruins for yourself.
The Inca ruins of SACSAYHUAMAN are my personal favorite of those found in the Sacred Valley of Peru. A not-to-be-missed while in Cusco, this site is an excellent ruins warm-up before you check out the grandeur of Machu Picchu. The most impressive aspect of this hilltop fortress are the three massive, parallel stone walls that zigzag together across the plateau just over the other side of the mountain top from Cusco city and the valley below. They are thought to represent the jagged teeth of the puma, whose shape makes up the foundation of Cusco. Make sure to check out the natural stone slides located at SACSAYHUAMAN, and race some local children down the steep, smooth surfaces. Also, you might as well hike up the neighboring hill to take a picture of the huge Cristo Blanco figure that looms over the city, and can be spotted from anywhere at night when it's totally lit up.

June 10, 2008

Caution Butterfly Zone!

Yes, this is a real butterfly here, in blue. 

Be careful if choose to click on the link, you will be up close and personal!

Photo: www.sfcphotography.com

June 7, 2008

San Francisco Landmark

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.....
Photo credit: sfcphotography.com

The Conservatory of Flowers is a large botanical greenhouse in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, constructed in 1878. It houses an important collection of exotic plants. It is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park and the oldest municipal wooden conservatory remaining in the United States. It is also one of the first municipal conservatories constructed in the country. For these distinctions and for its associated historical, architectural, and engineering merits, the Conservatory of Flowers is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historic Places, is a San Francisco Landmark, and is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

June 5, 2008

Butterfly Zone!

Photo credit: sfcphotography.com

June 4, 2008

Butterfly Zone in Conservatory of Flowers

San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers has a neat special exhibit currently. You can come close to and take photos of, butterflies!

More photos to follow....

Photo credit: sfcphotography.com
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