Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Importance of Zzzzzz’s

Arianna Huffington, the very busy author and founder of the Huffington Post has just released a new tome about sleep.  Entitled, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time” (Harmony), Ms. Huffington makes the case for the importance of getting adequate quality sleep and the steps that she takes to create an environment that is conducive to achieving her sleep goals.  She has a routine that she follows which includes time to wind down after a busy day.  She also recommends removing any distractions such as the blinking lights of computer chargers and electronic equipment,  relegating her phone and computers to another room.  She extols the virtues of a beautiful, comfortable bed and proper sleep clothing.  As a severely sleep-deprived person, I plan on reading her book and implementing some of her strategies — that is when I find the time to do so.  I will try to say good-bye to late-night Netflix sessions and texting until all hours of the night, but I fear that it may lead to withdrawal.

Bright Lights, Big City

The LED lighting trend is gaining momentum as more and more New York City buildings are adding computerized lighting systems to the exteriors of their buildings. The Empire State Building, the Helmsley Building, the Bloomberg Building, and Madison Square Garden are just a few that have LED systems that are capable of displaying intricate lighting designs. Department stores are getting in on the action.  At Christmas time, Saks Fifth Avenue had a seasonal light show that it broadcast on the facade it’s building.  I passed Bloomingdale’s this evening and noticed, for the first time, a changing rainbow of lights on its facade. What was once a novelty is becoming more common.  The novelty may wear off, though, if too many buildings implement LED lighting displays, but for now it is still a welcome sight in the dark of night.

Tip Toe Through The Tulips

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Imagine a time when Park Avenue, previously known as Fourth Avenue, had a train line passing down it at street level. That must have been quite an eyesore and a nuisance! It was relocated below ground long ago, leaving a wide covered area above it. A name-change to the more prestigious ‘Park Avenue’, along with the creation of the planted areas, which are managed by The Fund for Park Avenue, has resulted in an elegant, beautiful avenue. At this time of year, the tulips are in full bloom and the cherry trees still have vibrant pink blossoms on them. Look for an ever-changing streetscape — Christmas tress in winter, mums in fall, sculpture exhibits occasionally — but for now enjoy this breathtaking beauty.

 

Love Thy Nature

On this day, each year, we are reminded of the importance of good stewardship of our planet. There are broad sweeping solutions that the G8 Roundtable and the United Nations Climate Control Conference are trying to implement and then there are the small steps that each of us can take every day.  Here is a list of the ten easiest ways that we can make a difference in our daily lives:

1)  Reduce the number of plastic beverage bottles that we use

2)  Use reusable grocery bags

3)  If you don’t have reusable bags with you, ask for paper instead of plastic

4)  Drive less, walk more, take mass transit

5)  Turn off lights

6)  Eat less red meat

7)  Don’t let your car idle

8)  Use less water especially hot water

9)  Use a kitchen cloth instead of disposable paper towels

10)  Print fewer hardcopies of documents

Prince: Rock Royalty

Prince was a masterful musician, a prolific songwriter, a spectacular performer, a flamboyant dresser, and from what I have been reading about him, a tad eccentric — many geniuses are. Unfortunately, I am learning more about Prince following his death than I did during his life.  Pop radio stations tend to play the same music over and over again.  Only now, to mourn Prince’s death and to pay tribute to him, are radio stations playing his classics and, boy, are they great!  1999 is my favorite, so far, but there are a plethora of them to listen to. My mom was my age when Prince released 1999 and she was a huge fan. I have to commandeer her iPhone to listen to her Prince collection. In fact, the top 19 downloaded songs on iTunes today are by Prince. With such a huge catalogue of music, I could be listening for days. RIP Prince!

Similar Style

 

A classic look never goes out of style.  I wore the outfit in the top photo in a post from May 2014.  The other photo is of Gwyneth Paltrow appearing in her recently published cookbook, “It’s All Easy”.  I have to get a copy because I read some positive reviews about the recipes.  Since I am a novice in the kitchen, I could use some easy-to-follow recipes, as I attempt to develop my cooking skills. 

Change for a Twenty

Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, announced today that Harriet Tubman would officially replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. As I wrote in my post, On the Money, back on February 22, 2016, it is about time that a woman graces a unit of currency.  Originally, the $10 bill was the one slated for redesign, but that would have led to the removal of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury. President Jackson  was the one that had to go.  He had an adversarial relationship with the banking sector, which made it ironic that he was on any unit of currency and his legacy is tied to his forceable removal of Native Americans from Georgia, leading to the deaths of thousands.  An online poll conducted by an organization called Womenon20’s received more nominations for Harriet Tubman than anyone else.  She is an apt choice because she is a true American hero, who risked her life to save others fleeing slavery through her underground railway. It was time for Andrew Jackson to go, Alexander Hamilton to stay, and Harriet Tubman to arrive. 

Historic Harlem Hospital

There is a beautiful, modern glass building with an enormous mural on its facade at Harlem Hospital on Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street in Manhattan. I was curious to learn the story behind the mural because it seems historic, yet very modern. I discovered that the original mural was painted in 1936 as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration’s Federal Arts Program, which provided jobs to unemployed artists during the Great Depression to spur the economy. This particular project was one of the first awarded to African-American artists. There were several artists who participated in this project, but Vertis Hayes painted the one that appears on the facade. These murals were originally painted on interior walls of the older buildings in the hospital complex and many had fallen into disrepair, while others were covered over with sheetrock. When the Hospital decided to construct a new building connecting the older wings, it hired art restorers to repair the murals. Once repaired, they took digital photographs of them and Mr. Hayes’ mural, depicting African-American life, was  printed directly onto the glass and then installed on the facade. At night, they are lit from behind, giving the building a beautiful glow. This new wing is aptly named the Mural Pavillion.

What is Art?

My sister snapped this picture of me at an Apple Store as I was choosing a new phone case. She said that it looked like I was contemplating an art installation. I tend to agree.  Regular everyday objects are often found in art. Consider Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, which is a urinal, or New Hoover Convertibles by Jeff Koons, which is a group of Hoover vacuum cleaners, or Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol for examples.

Color Me Happy

Color is an important factor in determining mood.  When designers consider color options for packaging, decor, and apparel, there is a lot of forethought that goes into their decisions.  Experts such as color psychologists and color consultants weigh in on the process to ensure that the colors in contention elicit the responses that they want.  I am not an expert about what colors make people happy, but I know them when I see them.  I was walking down the street today and I came across this planter of hyacinths in purple and fuchsia. The combination of these two colors instantly perked me up and put me in a happy mood.