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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(PAPER) / Day 3

imagecourtesyaliciabdesignsblogspot

Peeps,


Any discussion on the use of bold colors, exuberant patterns, and the masterful combination of the two decorating elements invariably concludes with a nod to the work of interior designer Anthony Baratta.  Never content to simply remain within the realm of the mundane or expected, he always pushes the limits of the pattern-on-pattern-on-pattern interplay.  In the hands of a less experienced designer, this sitting room (today's visual treat) could have proved disastrous; Anthony achieves cozy, relaxed, and visually compelling.  Indeed, a purview of his portfolio reveals projects that are balanced, practical, and spirited.  And all this while having loads of fun with color and pattern!


On the use of wallpaper, he shared his thoughts;  " I have a love-hate relationship with wallpaper. Believe me, I have tried everything at least once. It's the over-use of certain patterns that kind of bugs me. How many times in the past few years have we seen Chinese hand-painted papers or a short-lived surge in toile de Jouy. I will always be in love with these types of wallpapers but I have had to give them a break for a bit.  Right now, it's more interesting for me to use unexpected fabrics as wall coverings. I've used quilt patterns and flowered chintz walls when I want a busy background; and for clean and simple decorating, I'm into things like burlap and ultra-suede, and I love the wet look of vinyls.

Wallpapers go in and out of style really quickly so be careful of trendy colorways and very stylised patterns. I remember my mom used a pattern in her dining room that was up for what seemed like an eternity but looked tired after two weeks -- imagine rust colored roses on a navy blue background. Yikes!

But I'm sure I'll be back to toile soon though.  I 'm considering one for a ski house in Utah.  There's even talk in my office of using wallpaper borders again. Fancy that!"




Mr. Baratta's exciting, colorful portfolio can be viewed at www.anthonybaratta.com.


Thanks,
Shane

PS:  Today's soundtrack is Diane Ross' The Boss.




(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...: imagecourtesyaliciabdesignsblogspot Peeps, Any discussion on the use of bold colors, exuberant patterns, and the masterful combinatio...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Our blog nominee for THE BEST OF WASHINGTON CITY P...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Our blog nominee for THE BEST OF WASHINGTON CITY P...: imagecourtesyrebeccarawlinsoncom As the iconic Kate Moss has demonstrated over her decades long career, small and uniques rocks (every...

Our blog nominee for THE BEST OF WASHINGTON CITY PAPER 2012

imagecourtesyrebeccarawlinsoncom


As the iconic Kate Moss has demonstrated over her decades long career,
small and unique rocks (everytime)!!
On that note, please cast a vote for our favorite little shop, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS.
This Alexandria, (VA) based boutique offers the most exquisite independent designers, customized fittings, and unequaled personal service to discerning shoppers for over 25 years.
Visit the Washington City Paper web-site, click on the BEST OF D.C., and simply write
 AN AMERICAN IN PARIS in best clothing boutique category.
Support Madame Joelle and the spirit of small business.
Thanks.

The PEEP-SHOW presents THE MUSIC CONCERT!!

photocourtesyakwardclassicalmusicphotos


The American Youth Harp Ensemble
performs on 2 March at 7pm

Providence Baptist Church,
8900 Brook Road, McLean, Va 22102

admission: $20


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(PAPER), Day 2

photocourtesybethwebbinteriors



Peeps,


Like a illusionist, wallpaper(s) can mimic the composition of granite/marble/onyx and other stones.  As well as the effect of walls that have been marbled, stippled, dragged, combed, feathered, stried, sponged, ragged, washed, or stenciled.  If the budget allows, hand-blocked scenes can be commissioned from venerated artisans, and of late, the rage for high-gloss papers that mirror or reflect one's interior continues to fill the a renewed demand for anything lacquer-like.  If you love the look of Japanese and Chinese lacquered furniture, or Burmese lacquered urns and bowls, then slicker-than-slick walls are just the thing to satisfy the urge of many who thrill at the opportunity to reside within a jewelled box, a Venetian fantasy, or, an Anish Kapoor art installation. 


Beth Webb of Atlanta has been quite instrumental in introducing a new, modern aesthetic to Atlanta and other southern parts.  In an area known for cold mint-juleps, infectious southern charm, and a keen appreciation of beautiful homes, her refined sensibilities have hit just the right note (at the right time!).  Her interiors are very edited, nuanced in subtle colors, and reflect the critical eye of an aesthete.  Not unlike a photographer, her compositions are carefully composed and balanced through form, texture and space.  Her approach to design is similar to a painter in that she excels in the creation of atmosphere (or mood), imbues each project with individuality and energy, and triumphs in making it all seem so unworked, or natural -- not easy!  In today's visual treat (courtesy of Ms Webb), wallpaper from Nobilis completes this wonderful powder-room.


Her portfolio of other note-worthy projects can be viewed at www.bethwebb.com.


Thanks,
Shane


PS:  Today's soundtrack is Vince Watson's Eminations.





(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...: photocourtesybethwebbinteriors Peeps, Like a illusionist, wallpaper(s) can mimic the composition of granite/marble/onyx and other s...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...: photocourtesybethwebbinteriors Peeps, Like a illusionist, wallpaper(s) can mimic the composition of granite/marble/onyx and other s...

Monday, February 27, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(P...: photocourtesymatthewpatricksmyth Peeps, I truly believe that every home needs a least one papered room, if not two. Entry halls beg fo...

The PEEP-SHOW presents OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(PAPER) / Day 1

photocourtesymatthewpatricksmyth

Peeps,

I truly believe that every home needs a least one papered room, if not two.  Entry halls beg for the impact of oversized patterns running up and down stairways, and usually need a greater degree of warmth than other rooms.  An inviting entry-hall transforms that sometimes awkward moment of transition from public to private space into the perfect a-ha moment when visitors can wordlessly receive your well-meaning intent of welcome and hospitality. Since this area is not one in which you will daily inhabit for extended periods, throw caution to the wind and go bold with colors or patterns that sizzle and dazzle.  Provoke the senses, especially touch, through textured papers which are now embroidered with gem-stones, shells, bows, and beads.  Grass-cloths have been reintroduced with varied weaves, and colors ranging from Inca-gold yellow to endless-death black to Chinese blood-red.   Stripes run the gamut from sporty casual to traditionally proper; if you adore animals and plants, then the entire planet is at your fingertips (or roller).  Historical buffs can delve into scenes from the past or present, and Sheila Bridge's contemporary take on idyllic chinoiseries are sure to shake up even the most jaded visitor.  If you keep using Grandma's floral pattern of cabbage roses and scrolling ribbons in the den as your only reference point, a trip to the local design center or paint-and-paper store should be scheduled immediately for the array of patterns is endless and is sure to inspire even the most reluctant amongst us.


One of my favorite designers, Matthew Patrick Smyth, whose interiors we've all swooned over because of his classic style, sense of relaxed comfort, and masterful mix of antiques and contemporary pieces, said of (the use of) wallpaper; "  It has come from being looked down upon by some as an old fashioned decorating trick to a key ingredient in design.  It can be subtle, bold, serene or flashy and can transform a space instantly.  The range to choose from is enormous.  Over the last few years the development of new and innovative production techniques have led to many creative applications.  Wallpaper's value as a design tool has greatly increased and continues to do so."  Today's visual treat, courtesy of the talented Mr. Smyth, speaks of warmth, elegance, and tradition, yet also quite livable and without pretense.  Any occasion for dining, including dim-sum from the local take-out would be memorable within this beautiful walls.


Mr. Smyth's portfolio may be viewed at matthewsmyth.com, and his beautiful new coffee-table book entitled Living Traditions:  Interiors by Matthew Patrick Smyth, may be purchased online or through your local book-shop.


Sincerely, 
Shane

PS:  today's soundtrack is PULSHAR's Kms (Pablo Bolivar Space Edit)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOE presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / D...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOE presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / D...: imagecourtesycoloroutsidethelines Peeps, After the excitement of this past week, I plan to stay in and just catch up with reading and ...

The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / Day 5 -- WEEKEND DELIGHT

imagecourtesycoloroutsidethelines


Peeps,

After the excitement of this past week, I plan to stay in and just catch up with reading and movies.  Outside it's chilly and windy, and while our 42F is mild compared to other parts of the world,  the thought of burrowing within the gilded walls of my little man-cave seems most pleasant.  Thanks to MOM's PIZZA on Columbia Pike which delivers a great white pizza, FACEBOOK, and NETFLIX, all my needs are aptly met.  Hope that all of the blog readers are also living out their dreams and desires.

Sincerely,
Shane 

PS:  Next week's peep-show entitled ' OFF THE ROLL, ON THE WALL(paper)' is sure to be a lot of visual fun.  I look forward to all of your comments.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents VISUAL CANDY (THIS + THAT) ...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents VISUAL CANDY (THIS + THAT) ...: imagecourtesychungkitblog Peeps, It seems that none of the leading candidates quite knows, or will reveal his intent to address the ...

The PEEP-SHOW presents VISUAL CANDY (THIS + THAT) / Day 4 - Twelve or More Million

imagecourtesychungkitblog

Peeps,


It seems that none of the leading candidates quite knows, or will reveal his intent to address  the issue of the eleven (or twelve) uninvited immigrants who currently reside within our borders.  Keeping the southern border secure seems achievable, once we get that virtual, and also physical, fence solidly in place, all 2000 miles of it.  Drones traversing overhead, guard dogs and ever-vigilant troops swelled by the ranks of the border-patrol and the idealistic Minutemen, aided by fixed cameras recording every movement within close proximity in anticipation of the full-scaled assault by the desperate and weary hordes intent on destroying our way of life.  Within the heavenly confines of the lower 48, if the proposed policy of self-deportation does succeed and undocumented families who now fill the ranks of produce-pickers/factory-processors/construction-workers/cleaning-persons/landscapers/baby-sitters/restaurant staff are 'encouraged' to return back to their respective homelands, then what?  Prison-gangs back into the fields, minority children learning the rudiments of mob-and-broom, college students undertaking painting and light home-repair during summer breaks; I think not!
Graciously, an exception may be made for grandmothers, anchor-babies, and a few others; pity and sympathy for any able-bodied male (or female) who manages the elude the traps set by ICE, our local law-enforcement, or the upholders of morality; yes them too, for fence-jumpers are synonymous with thieves and drug-runners and adulterers and on and on the list of transgressions continues, for this is the manner in which the sub-text has been shared with the chosen who adamantly state that America is for Americans, and gun-toting is a right, and that the world was created in six days.


Just makes me wonder at the hypocrisy and inhumanity of it all, especially as next Tuesday approaches.    


Hope you enjoy today's visual treat, a wonderful example of poster art/propaganda/evidence of social unease/a call for political activism.


Sincerely, 
Shane


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / D...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / D...: DiorCouturebypatrickdemarchelier viachungkitblog Peeps, The color green dominates House Beautiful's March issue, and I couldn't wa...

The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / Day 3 -- GETTING GREEN

DiorCouturebypatrickdemarchelier
viachungkitblog





Peeps,

The color green dominates House Beautiful's March issue, and I couldn't wait to dive deeply into the pages where gorgeous interiors by designers Meg Braff, Fawn Galli, the duo of Kristin Hein and Philip Cozzi, and Myra Hoefer were featured, in addition to paint color suggestions and eco-conscious goodies for the home and office.  All the homes were equally fabulous, however I caught myself drooling over a Cape Cod Bay living room in which the walls and ceiling had been lacquered in a dusky green.  It seemed moody, mysterious, and sexy, especially when illuminated by candle-light.  

As spring approaches and the trees begin to produce shoots and buds, one realizes how much the vitality provided by new green has been missed, for the dark tones of evergreens have begun to seem monotonous after providing interest throughout the last three months.  The garden today was delightful, and green in all its varied shades and hues could be seen in the new fronds of the ferns, the freshly sheared boxwoods, and the hellebores located near the garden-paths, which are now glorious.  Green:  it's a neutral/natural that goes with everything!!

Hope you enjoyed today's visual treat, as well as getting thru half the work-week.

Best,
Shane

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / ...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / ...: photocourtesybetsybrowninc Peeps, This particular image (interior by the talented Betsy Brown) had been pinned to my inspiration boar...

The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / The Art of Editing

photocourtesybetsybrowninc



Peeps,

This particular image (interior by the talented Betsy Brown, www.betsybrowninc.net) had been pinned to my inspiration board, removed, and then returned.  I admire this tightly-edited home where clutter has been banished, clarity and purpose reign, and objects of beauty prevail. Ms Brown has smartly varied textures by her bold mix of materials, and a limited color palette of browns, neutrals, and black + white combo contributes greatly to the aura of timelessness--while still projecting a very contemporary look.  Long ago I wished that I could have lived in an environ like this, but I've since admitted that I'm too much of a pack-rack; although, I do admire the efforts of other personality-types who choose to foster inner peace and tranquility, to maintain some semblance of control vis-a-vis their surroundings, to fully appreciate a few chosen objects carefully placed, and all the other reasons why some folks entertain (or maintain) the 'less is more' maxim.  Everywhere I look, the realized evidence of humankind's creativity beckons and without restraint I partake heartily.  Thus, Persian carpets and Japanese glass floats, also wool Indian blankets and Italian pottery, dried snake-skins and stacks of books have joined all the other collections that crowd every table-top, hard-surface, wall space, and cabinet-drawer.  Love it all, including the bits and pieces that seem to find their way into my coat-pockets whenever I venture outside.

On a more serious note, if all of us would buy a little more carefully, this would certainly decrease the amount of pollution and waste of which the United States produces daily.  One of the most crucial steps to reducing our shared carbon footprint is by taking a more critical look at packaging.  Individual states which have started to charge for plastic-bags at the grocery-stores is a step in the right direction, yet we need to go further.  Products that we unhesitatingly pull from the shelves, bins, and coolers are simultaneously over-packaged and ill-packaged to the detriment of both ourselves and the environment.  Petroleum-based components (or polymers) are used for processing and producing plastic bottles/cups/bowls/caps/lids/covers and wrapping and directly influence how we transport and stock products, as well as how we implement point-of-purchase options and subsequent disposal.  The complexity of the polymers dictate the different plastics which can be most easily and safely recycled/reused/repurposed, or if extensive levels of processing and lengthy time-periods of decomposition are required, will instead by directed to land fills where unless properly handled will become a problem for future generations 


Allen Hershkowitz of the National Resources Defense Council calls for new policies, starting at municipal and state levels, to be introduced and implemented, thereby transferring more of the cost of waste disposal to producers or manufacturers.  A new policy called producer responsibility, similar to several currently in place in many parts of Europe and Japan, would require consumer-products manufacturers to help pay for the infrastructure to collect the material and send it to a recycling facility.  He believes that this levy would motivate producers to take a smarter approach to packaging, particularly when they would incur the cost of getting the containers (that once held their product) transported back to recycling centers or manufacturing sites for reuse.  He advocates more glass and less plastic.  As well as a more comprehensive system to getting back discarded glass containers back into the supply system, and using less of it as well.  Great interview today on The Diane Rehm Show and certainly gave me much to think about, as our waste increases tenfold -- daily!


Thanks for being devoted blog readers.


Sincerely,
Shane







Monday, February 20, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / D...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / D...: photocourtesysharonjfrazier Peeps, It's Presidents Day, again, and I am shocked at how quickly the month has sped by. Almost dreamli...

The PEEP-SHOW presents EYE CANDY (THIS + THAT) / Day 1 - ABHM

photocourtesysharonjfrazier



Peeps,

It's Presidents Day, again, and I am shocked at how quickly the month has sped by.  Almost dreamlike we bid farewell to January, bought chocolates and white roses a few days ago, and in a little over a week from today we welcome March and the unfolding of daffodils, crocuses, snow-drops, grape hyacinths and blue siberian quills.  I've seen a few forsythia bushes almost at the point of bursting into yellow glory that certainly declares with full certainty that spring is here, irrespective of the groundhog's predilections.  My favorite shrub, the flowering quince, has been spotted two streets over and I am tempted to beg a branch or two.  Regretfully ill-informed landscaping crews have succeeded into clipping almost everything in that particular garden into shapes resembling overstuffed balls or languid bulbs, including the quince which seems most beautiful when left unchecked and natural.  Still, the bright pink or salmon blossoms borne on bare branches managed to lift my spirit on the gloomiest of days.


Yesterday's Washington Post gave us a early glimpse at the architectural plans and design sketches for the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is scheduled for completion in 2015.  The seven-level structure designed by the architectural firm Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup (of 374,000 square feet of which approximately 60% will be buried underground) will be sheathed in bronze-colored panels, and its silhouette resembles that of a corona.  "It's like the inverted, triple-headed crown used by the Yoruban court," said architect David Adjaye.  "It's a crown that signifies the status of the person wearing it," adds senior architect Phil Freelon.  "It's part of the celebratory nature of the building-an architectural from that's uplifting and dignified."  I eagerly await this beautiful addition to the current array of museums on the Mall which include the stately Natl Museum of Natural History, the brash form of the Hirshhorn Museum, the highly-praised East and West wings of the National Gallery, and the last introduction to the block, namely the architecturally-spectacular Natl Museum of the American Indian.


Until the new museum opens, folks here in the Washington region are quite fortunate to be able to enjoy exhibitions celebrating the African-American culture, history, and arts at the Alexandria Black History Museum.  This small cultural foundation offers art exhibitions in its gallery spaces, as well as books signings, poetry readings, and other activities at their attached library/reading room.  I've found it to be a very special place which regularly holds the most intriguing shows, and definitely a draw for the gallery visitor(s) who enjoys getting away from the usual, in order to experience something personal and unique.  Please visit their website at www.alexblackhistory.org in order to view the scheduled events.  Besides the shopping, restaurants, and sight-seeing in Olde Town, stopping in at the ABHM is a great way to spend the day and dazzle your friends with your cultural finesse.


Thanks for all your many emails last week, and please enjoy today's visual treat courtesy of artist Sharon J. Frazier, who is currently featured in the Alexandria Black History Museum's exhibition entitled ' Our Alexandria:  African American Dollhouses by Sharon J. Frazier and Linwood M. Smith.'


Sincerely,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack is William Orbit's The Story of Light (the best of strange cargoes).

Friday, February 17, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 4 - FILLING THE GAP (...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 4 - FILLING THE GAP (...: photocourtesyindigenousdialoguesflickr Friends and blog readers, I constantly ask myself, how do we fill the opportunity gap that exis...

STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 4 - FILLING THE GAP (an essay by guest writer Skyler Badenoch)

photocourtesyindigenousdialoguesflickr
Friends and blog readers,


I constantly ask myself, how do we fill the opportunity gap that exists throughout the world?  I've heard the statement, 'Intelligence and ability are equally distributed throughout the world, but opportunity is not,' many times, and I've come to believe that this is true.  The brave people that I've met on my trips to isolated rural communities in Haiti, Nicaragua, Mali, Malawi, and Nepal have led me to this conclusion; as have my numerous visits to inner-city high schools in Philadelphia, the Bronx and Harlem, as well as right here in Washington, DC.  I am an employee and ardent supporter of buildOn, an international organization that works to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectation through education and service.  While abroad, I have met rural villagers who will go to great lengths in order to access education; and I have spoken to urban high school teens here in the United States who have stepped forth and made positive change through their contribution of thousands of hours of community service by working directly with the disabled and homeless, the elderly and veterans, and small children.


I believe that there is a common bond between urban youth attending struggling high schools in the United States and individuals living in extreme poverty in the developing world.  I believe that both groups are filled with individuals who possess remarkable intelligence and ability, but who lack opportunities to make a difference in their own lives.  For this reason buildOn connects urban youth from U.S. high schools with communities in developing nations, and facilitates more than 250 students to travel overseas where they held to build schools in some of the most impoverished villages in the world. It’s a two-week experience that is transformative for both the students and the villagers.

Last month, buildOn was featured in The Week Magazine as their 'charity of the week.'  While we love the press, I’ve never once thought of buildOn as a charity; really, I see it as a powerful movement made up of thousands of high school students, villagers, donors, dedicated staff, and inspirational leaders who are passionate about making the most out of the opportunity to improve communities, increase access to education, and inspire the next generation of leaders here in the U.S. and abroad.

We are actively recruiting new people to join the buildOn movement in Philadelphia, The Bronx, Norwalk, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, and the Bay Area. Check out this video, visit my photos at Flickr ( ttps://secure.flickr.com/photos/23449200@N05/sets/72157629357889175/) or visit us at www.buildOn.org or on facebook, if you would like to join this unstoppable movement. 

Please, please think about becoming part of buildOn, and consider all the positive changes you would make throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Skyler Badenoch,
Developement Director, buildON

Thursday, February 16, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 3 Visual Inspiratio...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 3 Visual Inspiratio...: photocourtesybloginity Peeps, Ricardo Bofill's secluded garden in Barcelona only reiterates all the reasons why gardeners, garden de...

STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 3 Visual Inspiration (a secret garden)

photocourtesybloginity




Peeps,

Ricardo Bofill's secluded garden in Barcelona only reiterates all the reasons why gardeners, garden designers, aesthetes, style-conscious fanatics, and design-obsessed peeps spend so many hours poring over tear sheets, scouring the magazines, searching for newer and better design blogs, queueing to view designer show-houses and neighborhood tours.  We all want to see the clever ways in which individuals carve out their respective bit of paradise; and with lots of sweat equity and/or vision and some luck, the finished results are frequently so creative, highly individual, and inspiring.  Today's visual treat which was featured many years ago in numerous magazine articles and easily viewed in its entirety at www.bloginity.com, shows the smart ways in which an abandoned cement factory located well within the boundaries of town was transformed into a refuge for Mr. Bofill who especially values tranquility and solitude, and calls his home/office/exhibition space, "a magic place which strange atmosphere is difficult to be perceived by a profane eye."  I am so drawn to this leafy oasis with its overhang of abundant foliage, lush garden beds, and the architectural backdrop which is reminiscent of a fortresses or Roman aqueduct.  The sheer height of the structures as well as the prevailing mood of a forgotten paradise makes this spot oh so sweet, and memorable.  And fuels my imagination, as well as makes my heart go pitter-patter with desire.


Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day filled with love (or lust).


Thanks, 
Shane






PS:  Tonight's soundtrack is Pat Metheny's Above the Treetops.







Tuesday, February 14, 2012

STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 2 -- An Essay by Guest Writer Mundo Al Reves



photocourtesyindigenousdialogue


Reflections on An Unspoken Taboo

Every 15 seconds, a woman or woman is beaten.  Domestic violence, or domestic abuse, is a taboo in most countries, yet is frequently not discussed or reported.  I believe that shame is the reason why this taboo ends up unspoken.  Many individuals are loathe to discuss their situations because of the fear of societal stigma.  I have witnessed this situation in Middle Eastern cultures, some Asian cultures, and other cultures around the world.  Many of the victims of domestic violence refrain from any type of disclosure because internally they often blame themselves as the cause, or, they fear for their lives. 


As a Latina who grew up in a Hispanic community, I perceived that domestic abuse was simply not to be spoken of, at least in public.  Whether or not it was a taboo was not a distinction worthy of consideration, for discussions of the matter were not encouraged.  One of the stereotypes within the Latino/Hispanic community with which I am quite familiar, is that which we call 'machismo,' where males believe that in order to me 'a man,' or 'manly,' one must be aggressive and domineering rather than intellectual or rational. I see the machismo male as insecure and ignorant, and I believe that the machismo conduct is nothing more than an excuse for the Hispanic/Latino male to do as he pleases without guilt or remorse.  The wide license permitted to the Hispanic/Latino male allows for less pleasant actions to occur, such as domestic abuse, which is usually not discussed.  The prevailing attitude is that the state of affairs between a man and his wife, girlfriend, mistress, or his 'woman, ' should strictly remain behind closed doors.


As a Latina Muslim who now lives in the Middle East, I am keenly aware that many non-muslims incorrectly assume that Muslim women have no little or no rights because of traditional beliefs or religious teachings interpreted from sacred text.  Islam does not advocate violence, but instead speaks of a reverence for all human-beings.  Some in the media have presented a distorted vision of the manner in which followers of the Qur'an live their lives; by highlighting and sensationalizing the actions of the uneducated and the radicals whose intentions are less than honorable, viewers are subliminally asked, 'You see now, don't you?  They are all the same, this is what they--Muslims--do at the first chance.  Fundamentalist to the core.  Still living in the past where violence and hatred is celebrated.' In addition to being biased, this stereotyping of Muslims is inaccurate for the entire group cannot be judged solely on the actions of a few, who in now way represent the wide spectrum of persons who follow the teachings of the Qur'an.


A few days I volunteered at an event at my local mosque.  The event called 'Purple Hijab Day' is for the purpose of spreading awareness on domestic violence.  I was shocked by the behavior of some women who had a careless attitude, and seemed unwilling or unable to emphatize with a victim of domestic abuse.  I was disturbed by this as I always believed that we women should stick together and stand with each other in solidarity.  Some folks believe that victims of domestic abuse should be able to just fix it, get a handle on it, and move on.  It is so much harder to get out of an abusive relationship or marriage when issues of guilt and blame as well as the fear of societal disapproval are present.  My maternal grandmother, a devout Baptist, was fortunate to escape two abusive marriages.  I remember seeing the pain in her eyes, and knew of her painful ordeal.


Sadly, domestic violence is still a taboo, and it is difficult to have an open dialogue because of the shame involved.  I believe that through education and by all of us understanding our shared humanity we can make a difference.  For domestic violence is not just an issue of gender, but is indeed a human issue.

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 1 -- An Essay by Gues...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 1 -- An Essay by Gues...: photocourtesystuartwilber Friends and blog readers, I have loved the man I live with almost from the first time I set eyes on him in ...

STORIES FROM THE HEART / Day 1 -- An Essay by Guest Writer Stuart Wilber

photocourtesystuartwilber

Friends and blog readers,


I have loved the man I live with almost from the first time I set eyes on him in Chicago on December 8, 1977. We held our own ceremony shortly thereafter; we exchanged ancient coins instead of rings – we wear them still. In 1978, John was in the hospital overnight and I lied, saying that I was his brother so that I could visit him. Cook County didn’t recognize domestic partnership until 2003.

In 1988 we moved to San Clemente, California. In 1992 we were the 19th couple to register as domestic partners in Laguna Beach where John worked, 14 miles away. Our relationship was recognized when he was at work or if we went there to swim or for dinner, but not when we were at home.
In 1993 we were married in a mass ceremony by Troy Perry at the March on Washington – that marriage wasn’t legally recognized anywhere. In 2003 we were married in Vancouver, B.C. We remain married when we visit Canada, but it is not recognized when we cross the border. In 2007 we registered as domestic partners in Seattle. That relationship was sanctioned within the city limits, but not when we left town. And our present state-sanctioned partnership is recognized within the state when we leave town and when we travel into some, but not the majority of states.
There are lots of reasons I want to get married, and none of them are because I am gay. I don’t want a gay marriage. I don’t want a different kind of marriage; I want the same kind of marriage as my married neighbors have. I want a marriage with all the rights and privileges and responsibilities that everyone else who is married has. I am told there are 1,138 benefits that federally recognized marriage would bring us, and I would like those, too.
But most of all, I want to marry the man I have loved for almost 34 years – a real marriage legally recognized everywhere we go.
I am sure that deep down, you understand this too.
Sincerely,
Stuart




Note:  Stuart Wilber is a contributing editor at THE NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The PEEP SHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / Day 5 -- ELVI'S KITCHEN, SAN PEDRO (BELIZE)

photocourtesyguidetobelize.info



Peeps,

The events were narrated to me by someone who claimed that everything happened as she said it did.  Perhaps a few details, minor ones, may have been missed in the excitement of something so unexpected and novel, she stressed, and who am I to question a village matron who has traded in gossip, rumors, jealousies and slights for the past fifty or more years.  This is the story she told me:  as the sun set quietly in the western sky, and beyond the southern tip of the island and looking in the direction of Caye Caulker, the waves seemed almost burnished with gold; and then in the blink of an eye, the sea turned green, then silver and then blue as thousands and thousands of flying fish leaped in unison, like in aquatic ballet.  Even the nesting birds in the trees at the end of Jade Street were abruptly quiet, and some whispered about the ghost of Chehel, but these comments were quickly hushed.  Then figures started appearing out of the bush past the airport runway and in the distance no one could tell who they were, so we just sat and waited, while the kids played shop with the bunches of sea-grapes and coco-plums that been missed by earlier pickers.  Troops of girl-dancers dressed in Carnival-type dresses of black and gold and big feathers came out and formed behind their tall leader who was covered entirely in black-bird feathers.  A little vexed after missing a promised lunch of panades, they had had to get by with bags of plaintain chips and a few bottles of Orange Fanta.  Yet the prospect of dancing at the birthday party for Miss Elvi cheered them up, as did the thought of the dinner buffet after their performance to which they could partake.  Before you could catch your breath, steel drummers stepped out from behind the girls and joined the dancers, now all moving in unison.  I don't know the beats, but the children did and followed the parade as they headed for Pescado Street where the dancing would begin at six.  I wanted to go cause Miss Elvi begged me to come, but my daughter was sick at home.  I heard that everyone had a good time, and the cup-cakes were pretty and frosted in blue and green, and when you bit into them, tiny bird-eggs of peppery chocolate fell in your mouth.  A plate of food was set out late at night for El Duende, and in the morning it was gone. 


I cannot disprove the story shared with me by Ms B, yet I doubt that she would have skipped Miss Elvi's 80th birthday party held two Sundays ago, and attended by over a hundred friends who dined on culinary delights by Chef Jannie.  For those blog-readers who have not yet visited Ambergris Caye, Elvi's Kitchen is the best thing going with local foods, fusion creations, and the ever popular Friday night Mayan Buffet.  Miss Elvi started her business enterprise back in 1979 as a nightly takeout of hotdogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers.  30 years later, and with hundreds of awards and testimonials to her credit, it seems that the benevolent matriarch is now going to retire.  Hopefully she will have more time for her favorite activities such as tele-novellas, tequila-bar hopping, and gardening. Please visit their website at www.elviskitchen.com to read more about this wonderful restaurant in Sand Pedro, or like them at elvi's kitchen/facebook.  


Thanks,
Shane


PS:  Happy Birthday Miss Elvi, and your dedication is Blue Moon by Tanita Tikaram and Mark Isham.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

THE PEEP SHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / Day 4 -- AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM, BALTIMORE MD


imagecourtesytabihito.tumblr.com

Peeps,

Although located only about 40 miles north of Washington ( DC), Charm City (or Baltimore, MD) gets considerable less press than its more prestigious neighbor.  Anyone who has visited Baltimore invariably raves about the friendliness of its residents, the wonderful small Polish and Italian neighborhoods, and the great deals on residential real estate. ' It feels like a real city, not like DC which at times seems like an amusement park.  It's so big, so close and we never even think much about it, ' is the sentiment that I hear so frequently from friends who have a hard time crossing the 14th street bridge.  These same individuals will claim that driving in VA is so confusing, and believe that no one really lives north of White Flint Mall.  Whatever!!

When pressed into service as tour guide, my guests and I are always impressed by our visit to the one of the city's hidden treasures, namely the American Visionary Art Museum, which even at a distance elicits gasps of admiration.  The main building and accompanying garden courtyards are perched on the edge of the harbor, and the views from the upper-level restaurant are phenomenal. In the distance one glimpses the modern skyline of downtown, and even closer are wheeling birds and the masts of bobbing sail-boats.  The museum has several floors of exhibition galleries dedicated to the works of intuitive/outside/outsider-insider/self-taught/visionary/folk/and neuve invention artists (or artisans). An enormous gift-shop filled with the most unusual and creative objects boggles the mind, as does the exterior courtyard filled with art-objects and sculptures.  Numerous travel blogs and magazines rave about the museum, and rightly so.  It's a humbling and moving experience to view the creativity expressed by those who had previously been marginalized by mainstream society, and the manner in which Beauty continues to assert itself in the most unfavorable of circumstances.  The permanent collection includes Howard Finster, Martin Ramirez, Ted Gordon and others.

I hope that when planning a visit to our area, please consider the AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM (www.avam.org), for it's not to be missed.

Thanks,
Shane


PS:  Tonight's soundtrack is Chris Lake's Communicate (Crazy).


(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: THE PEEP SHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / ...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: THE PEEP SHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / ...: imagecourtesytabihito.tumblr.com Peeps, Although only located only about 25 miles north of Washington ( DC), Charm City (or Baltimore,...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents THE MID-WEEK VISUAL JOLT!!

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEP-SHOW presents THE MID-WEEK VISUAL JOLT!!: artistbarbarakrugercourtesytfaoi.com Peeps, It seems that there is an illusion (or belief) that with the passage of the 14th Amendme...

The PEEP-SHOW presents THE MID-WEEK VISUAL JOLT!!

artistbarbarakrugercourtesytfaoi.com


Peeps,


It seems that there is an illusion (or belief) that with the passage of the 14th Amendment, the struggle was over, and the fight had been won.  The shenanigans of the Susan G Komen Foundation this past week highlighted the precarious position occupied by many vis-a-vis counseling or general and specialized health services.  Equally revealing was the small group(s) of women who clustered near the Key Bridge in Georgetown on Sunday evening.  Bundled in knitted caps, thick scarves, and sturdy overcoats, with steady conviction they held aloft placards with the words, ERA VOTE, MONDAY IN VA ASSEMBLY. Some drivers honked in agreement, a few seemed perplexed, and many continued on to party preparations for the Superbowl game.  I made a resolve to find out more about that particular piece of legislation then pending in Richmond, to get more involved in the civic processes of our country, and to perhaps watch less TV.  I hope that all of us (peeps) will do the same, since November is fast approaching.  And the stakes are getting increasingly higher!


Please enjoy today's visual treat, courtesy of American artist Barbara Kruger.


Thanks,
Shane

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / Da...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / Da...: imagecourtesytripadvisor Peeps, While it's a sunny 39F today, winter is still not over. If the predictions of the Farmer's Almanac pro...

The PEEPSHOW presents DESTINATION: PLEASURE / Day 3 -- HOTEL CHOCOLAT, ST LUCIA

imagecourtesytripadvisor

Peeps,

While it's a sunny 39F today, winter is still not over.  If the predictions of the Farmer's Almanac prove right, we're going to have a icy March or April, and the early daffodils, crocuses and cherry-blossom buds will perhaps regret their eagerness.  It seems that every year, we experience this period of a false spring, and yet we lap it up after the grey days of December and January.  The astute among us have saved vacation-days and mileage credits, and will invariably head for warmer climes of which the Caribbean islands and South American countries figure prominently as bastions of warmth and sunny splendor.  And tiny St Lucia may just be the brightest gem of them all.

Lonely Planet (blog) writes ' rising like an emerald tooth from the flat Caribbean Sea, St Lucia definitely grabs your attention . . . The rain forest-choked interior is made for hiking; a canopy of green covers the island like a haze.  Rolling hills grow to form volcanic mountains and reach to the sky.  The iconic Pitons rise from the waves to the clouds like pyramids of volcanic stone . . . St Lucia has a pulse.  Your senses are bombarded with sights, smells and sounds of an island that's truly alive . . . Towns like Castries move and shake to the sound of car horns, the smells of rotis fresh from the oven and reggae blaring on the speaker . . . There is great scuba diving to be found under the waves and the sailing is top notch.' Velvet Escape (blog) similarly raved about St Lucia, especially ' the southern part of the island features dramatic scenery that includes the Pitons . . . {and} the lovely Diamond Botanical Gardens.' Top Drawer Holidays (UK) on its selection of Hotel Chocolat, called it the perfect holiday spot; ' what could me a more perfect holiday for the chocoholics amongst us than to stay at Hotel Chocolate in St Lucia?  Set in the grounds of a beautiful 18th century cocoa estate, the luxurious Hotel Chocolate is Saint Lucia's newest boutique hotel and a must-visit for all lovers of chocolate.  The 140-acre Rabot Estate, dating back to 1745, is the oldest on Saint Lucia, but the accommodation is stylish and contemporary, and the hotel's Engaged Ethics Programme is helping to revitalise the island's cocoa industry. '


Besides exemplary service and the newly refurbished Boucan Restaurant which offers an extensive array of scrumptious delights, Hotel Chocolat which is affiliated with the Rabot Estate, a cocoa growing plantation, is a staunch advocate of Engaged Ethics.  This means that cocoa farmers in St Lucia receive 30-40% above the world market price, and are paid quickly after the sale of produce.  Additionally, advice and technical expertise is offered in order to increase production and ensure quality. Native St Lucians are hired to work on the estate as engineers, drivers, support staff, tour guides.  ' At Hotel Chocolat/the Rabot Estate we believe in putting back into the local economy and empowering the folks whose livelihood is tied to growing cocoa.  The existing industry model for the global chocolate industry is to buy only the commodity crop from the developing nation and then to add all the chocolate-making value to it back in Europe or the US. Our initiative {the Engaged Ethics Initiative} turns industry practise on its head and creates a more even distribution of benefits from those who love fine chocolate to those who actually grow it, ' said spokesperson Judy Buckley.  Admirable, especially in today's economic climate and as of late, the increase in questionable business-ethics.


Folks, if you haven't yet firmed your holiday plans, then head for paradise at Hotel Chocolat in St Lucia (www.hotelchocolat.com).  In addition to feeling different -- better, you'll also be making a difference!


Thanks,
Shane


PS:  Tonight's soundtrack is Grace Jones' Pull Up To The Bumper. 








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