art · life curation

A Day at NGA

A couple of weeks ago, I had a free afternoon and I was feeling artsy (to be honest, I can’t think of a time when I’m NOT feeling artsy). So I took a stroll to National Gallery of Art (NGA) to check out the exhibits. It’s been nearly two years since my last visit, so I was overdue.

Tomorrow’s post will be “heavier”, as far as subject matter goes, so today, I’m taking it light and easy. Here are a few photos from my last visit to NGA. This post features a few of the sculptures that I saw at the museum. Enjoy!

Nymph and Satyr by Edward McCartan (1920)

This satyr is nothing but trouble! Look at how he’s looking at the nymph.

Play coy, little nymph! Maybe that naughty satyr will leave you alone.

Justice by Barthelemy Prieur (1610)

It’s hard to believe this lovely lady is over 400 years old! It was completed the year before Prieur’s death.

I had to do some research on this one: I’d never heard of “zephyr” before.

A Garden Allegory: The Dew and Zephyr Cultivating Flowers by Benoit Massou, Anselme Flamen and Nicolas Rebille (1683/1732)

This beautiful woman depict dew, the gentle moisture found on vegetation in the morning hours.

The charming little cherub next to Dew is Zephyr, the soft gentle breeze that can be felt on a pleasant spring day

food · travel

Review: Wiz Kid Restaurant

Happy, happy Monday, friends!

After the auction I attended a few days ago (you can read about it here and here), I was famished. I didn’t know how hungry I would be, but I think I underestimated how long my breakfast would stave off hunger (something about travel throws off my ability to correctly gauge when and how much I need to eat, but I digress). In any case, I figured I could probably grab something suitable close by. I looked up nearby restaurants and learned that a vegan restaurant was just around the corner from the auction house. So of course I had to check it out.

Screenshot 2018-05-17 at 11.16.00 PM - Edited

(from the Wiz Kid website)

I stepped into Wiz Kid and was instantly charmed by the intimate size and hits from bygone years playing in the background. The restaurant boasts a small but flavorful vegan menu. I was greeted by a friendly cashier as I looked over the menu. I decided to try the Yucatan chopped salad and rhubarb-ade.

My tasty Yucatan chopped salad

The salad was large and filling. This was a delicious vegan take on the southwestern-style salads that can be found at many popular restaurants. According to the website, the salad features, “black beans, grilled zucchini, pico, poblano, cauliflower, tortilla crumble, cilantro goddess”. I can confirm that all of those ingredients were in my salad, and it came together beautifully.

I really liked the crunch that came from the tortilla crumbles: that variance in texture went a long way in making this salad more interesting. The cilantro goddess dressing was creamy and delicious. I was really impressed with this hearty salad.

The rhubarb-ade was also a hit! Tart, sweet and unique: it was the kind of original take on lemonade that I’m always looking for when I go out. Rhubarb is such an unusual choice: I liked it a lot!

Photo taken from outside of Wiz Kid

Overall, I really enjoyed Wiz Kid. My only wish is that they expand the menu, but I can also appreciate the carefully curated selection. Why mess with a good thing, y’know? So, on that note, I must recommend Wiz Kid in Philadelphia, PA. It’s located at 124 S 19th Street. Make sure you check it out when you’re in the area!

culture · international

Embassy Weekend, EU Style

Well friends, I had another fabulous Embassy Open House weekend experience this year! I went to the European Union (EU) Open House event last weekend (May 12) and had a blast! Last year, I went to the “Around the World” Embassy Tour, but the rain kept me in for most of the day, so when I finally made it to the embassies, I only got to tour Kenya and Haiti. I adored the Haitian Embassy so much that I wrote a post about it. I didn’t see much of Kenya during the embassy tour but I eventually returned for an evening at the Kenyan Embassy. But this time, I tried EU Open House weekend because it had been years since I last visited the European embassies.

This year wasn’t rainy, but boy was it hot! The temperatures soared above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so after a couple of hours, I was drained. This year, I only got to visit two embassies but it was so worth it!

Outside of the Portuguese Embassy

My first stop was the Embassy of Portugal. This embassy was closing early due to a conflicting event that afternoon, so I had to make the most of my time while I was there. The staff was charming and they had the most amazing cheese tarts to sample! I wish I had gotten a photo of the ladies and gents in their traditional costumes, but maybe I’ll have better luck next year. In any case, it planted the seed in me for a future trip to Portugal . . .

Next, I visited the Embassy of Ireland. We had an excruciatingly long wait, but at least we got to enjoy performances from the local Irish dance classes. Here’s a clip of one of their performances:

I was delighted to enter the embassy and see some great Gaelic books written about a diverse group of children: indeed, children from a variety of backgrounds could come and see books written about children that looked like them. I also loved the charming layout of the historic building.

All in all, I really enjoyed my embassy experience this year! I’m already excited to experience it again next year!

travel

Review: Microtel Inn and Suites, Philadelphia Airport

Even though I adore luxury experiences and love sharing those reviews with you, it’s important that I try a variety of things because you may find it necessary to scale back the luxe and enjoy more economical experiences.

 In this spirit of this, I am reviewing a lower priced hotel in the Philadelphia area. I stayed at the Microtel Inn and Suites near Philadelphia International Airport (on Tinicum Drive). The hotel is modest but boasts a continental breakfast, close proximity to the airport, and free wifi.

I reserved a room with a double bed, and I was impressed with the simplicity and tidiness of the room upon settling in. However, there were a few issues that I want to note, for anyone interested in visiting this location.

 For starters, only the suites have microwaves, coffeemakers and refrigerators. Since my room technically wasn’t a suite, there was no way to preserve the takeout that I ordered. Also, the walls are very thin: I heard the television next to my room for quite a few hours. I know that complete soundproofing isn’t possible – nor is it desirable – but I would have enjoyed a quieter stay (for the record, the room next door did turn off/turn down the TV before 12 AM, so I didn’t have to listen to their set all night).

The main issue came after my first night at the hotel. The following morning, I went to use the internet and . . . it wasn’t working. I contacted the front desk and I was advised that they were aware of the issue but they were waiting on a technician to resolve it. It took nearly 4 hours (from the time I woke up around 6:30 AM to sometime before 11 AM) for the internet to be fixed. It wouldn’t have been a major issue except I needed to access systems for my job and send reports. I ended up using my cell phone as a hot spot, but that is my least favorite way of accessing the internet.

My overall takeaway is this: Microtel Inn and Suites Philadelphia Airport location is fine for one night, two maximum. It works out just fine for someone that may need to rest before continuing on their journey, or if you’re traveler that plans to just crash for the night after having a whirlwind tour of the city.

reading list

Book Review: Lifestyle Design for a Champagne Life by Cassie Parks

What’s better on a Friday than a book review? I can’t think of too many things I enjoy more than reading and talking about the books that I’ve read!

I really enjoyed rereading “Lifestyle Design for a Champagne Life” by Cassie Parks. I read the book previously and found the tips to be tremendously helpful, but I was due for a refresher.

For those interested in law of attraction (LOA), Parks gives a great formula for engaging and leveraging LOA to create a dream lifestyle. This is a fantastic intro to LOA principles and a step-by-step guide for using some common but powerful LOA tools.

champagne

Here’s a toast to your dream life!

Parks’s overall approach is as follows:

-Envision your dream life

-Script your story

-Experience the life now

The steps are simple enough, but Parks gives additional details to add additional magic. Her system invokes more emotions – therefore, more intensity – than some of the processes used by other LOA coaches. That additional intensity means that your manifesting is more effective and you can align yourself with your desires faster. And when you align faster, the things that you desire come to you easier and quicker.

My favorite aspect of this book is how Cassie makes it easy to get in touch with your dream lifestyle. Her methodical approach is clear and easy to follow, and her genuine desire to help is endearing. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in using LOA tools to attract your dreamlife!

art

A Day at Freeman’s Auction, Part 2

After enjoying a fun first day at Freedman’s Auction, I was eager to return the next day for the actual auction.

I arrived just after bidding started and I went to Client Services to retrieve my paddle. The young woman that assisted me the day before recognized me and grabbed my paddle and a form for me to sign before I started bidding. Once the form was signed, I returned to the main room where the auction was being held.

Ooh, what fun I had! It was amazing to see how high some of the prices would go! I couldn’t help but think about how this collection – carefully assembled, with pieces loved and well worn – would soon be parceled out and sent to new homes, to become beloved pieces in different collections. There were so many people eager to make these lots part of their own personal collections; it’s just a testimony to the lasting good taste of Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton (the original owner of the pieces).

And my beautiful platinum bow brooch? I didn’t get it. I’m not disappointed: I’m sure that the right piece will come along at the right time. I’m also sure that someone will absolutely LOVE it when they get it and see that beauty in person (a bidder on the phone was the lucky winner). It’s a treasure that I’m positive will be going to a good home where it will be loved and cherished.

My time as Freeman’s was so much fun! I’m already planning to attend again, but next time, my budget will be much bigger, and I will have a winning bid!

That’s all for my experience with Freeman’s Auction. I hope you all enjoyed, and have a Happy Wednesday! Talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

Living Your Best Life: Cultivating Calm, Part 2

calm2

Happy Wednesday, beloveds! In part one of my Cultivating Calm posts, I mentioned how to become more aware of when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or frustrated. Once you identify the patterns and triggers, you can begin to control or manage them. Here are a few tips for controlling and managing triggers that threaten your feeling of calm.

angry

-Avoid people who stimulate an anxious or agitated feeling. You know who I’m talking about: there are some people who have a nervous energy that’s contagious: they walk into a room and everyone starts feeling “on edge”. I noticed that a lot of inexperienced or insecure supervisors and managers tend to generate this energy. You also notice it from people that treat everything like a crisis or a tragedy, consistently overexaggerating the seriously of thing occurring in their lives.

news

-Avoid consuming overstimulating food, beverages or media. I adore chocolate, but I can’t have it late at night because of the caffeine. I feel jittery and agitated when I can’t get to sleep, so I avoid chocolate late at night as well as caffeinated beverages. Likewise, examine your diet and see what stimulants you consume regularly. Then, aim to wean yourself off of those stimulating foods and beverages: overstimulation frequently causes agitation and anxious feelings. It goes without saying that media can also make you feel anxious: sometimes the news makes us feel stressed and frustrated. So employing some selective ignorance can go a long ways in helping you preserve your calm.

clean

-Clean up your physical surroundings. Disorderly environments can disturb your sense of peace and tranquility. So clean up and enjoy your new, calmer environment.

stretch

-Practice deep breathing and relaxing stretches to help you unwind. Intentionally increasing your oxygen intake can really help with “resetting” your energy and improving your mood (there are studies confirming this, so do your research!). Relaxing stretches help to reduce the tension in tightly contracted muscles.