best discovery ever!

My biggest fear when I travel alone, is figuring out how to get around without getting terribly lost, looking like a tourist or heading completely in the opposite direction and giving up on my destination altogether (which I have done more than I care to admit). Hello Citymapper!  How did I not know you existed?!

Because of my fears, I have become a huge planner when I travel. When I went to Prague many years ago pre-sophisticated smart phones, I packed my itinerary tight and had every tram journey planned & printed from point A to point B (I just love a city with trams!), even pre-booked taxis before I left home for trips farther afield. In Auckland and Melbourne (my oft-repeated destination) their transit systems have comprehensive apps that give you point to point instructions. And even in NYC, I find myself relying on Google Maps for subway or walking routes. Well no more . . .

As I started planning for my next trip to Lisbon – where I don’t speak the language, where transit system apps and quite frankly decent cross over transit maps don’t exist, where I seem to have chosen a hotel for which the closest form of transportation is a jam-packed tourist tram with waits up to an hour long and where hills upon hills can make walking a daunting task, I feared not only my usual woes but that my Uber bill would skyrocket out of control.

Then somehow, I stumbled upon CityMapper as a result of my 800th google search on how to get from said hotel to various points around the city. Boom! The best thing I have ever seen. Simply put in your starting address, your go to address — choose by clicking on a map or entering an exact address — and you get options galore with detailed English instructions and even step by step notifications if you wish. Save addresses, send meeting spots to friends, sync between devices, see what’s nearby. It’s everything you need for just about any major city, all in one simple to use app.

Now, I plan to leave for Lisbon without detailed pre-planning, just a list of places I want to see, a rough outline by day and I’ll figure it out on the fly.

Save

Save

Save

celebrating jane

This book. Probably one of the most influential books I read in college. A required read that is still in my personal library today. I haven’t held on to many things from that era in my life but this book is still with me — tattered, worn, well read and well loved.

This July 1, 2017 my favorite city (oh Melbourne how I love thee!) will be celebrating the ideas of author Jane Jacobs with a screening of a new documentary on the fight to save her beloved Greenwich Village neighborhood from sure ruin by big bad government city planners, as the kick off to Open House Melbourne — an annual celebration of the city and its architecture where for two days, hundreds of buildings are opened to the public for tours amidst a month long series of related activities. I’m itching to get down there for one of these tour weekends but that’s a whole other story. In addition, there will be talks and walks as part of the What Would Jane Do? programming in this year’s cultural festival.

Fret not my fellow Americans, the documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is also on in this country, screening now in select cities and streaming On Demand.

It’s a thought provoking look at the fight Jane Jacobs lead in her lifetime with a healthy dose of commentary on city planning and where our cities are headed ’round the world. Worth a watch. But do me a favor, read the book. Jane Jacobs was not only a revolutionary thinker, she was an eloquent writer and inspiring teacher.

The ideas she expounded have not been lost. Not in the least. You can experience them right in the place where you live thru citizen-led walking tours known as Jane’s Walks. Walking tours that invite citizens to seek, observe and reflect upon their city surroundings, held every May on Jane Jacobs birthday around the world. A fitting tribute.

Related Links:

http://www.altimeterfilms.com/citizen-jane-battle-for-the-city/

http://www.openhousemelbourne.org/

http://janeswalk.org/

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

worthwhile investment

I never thought i could love a machine quite so much. And worth every bit of that $450 price tag it is!  I make smoothies every morning for breakfast — have for years. But after going through a slew of bar blenders in just the past year, it was time to upgrade. And now I get up every morning excited to take my Rolls Royce of blenders for a spin. Fast, easy, efficient and self-cleaning. That is my favorite part — just fill half way with warm water, add a couple drops of soap and blend for 30 seconds. Done and ready for the next morning when I might indulge in one of my favorite smoothie recipes:

1 cup unsweetened chocolate  almond milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 small avocado
1T almond butter
1-2T ground chia seeds
agave syrup to taste
Ice

Place ingredients in blender jar in the order listed. Turn blender on low and slowly ramp up speed to high. Blend for 30 seconds on high. Pour and enjoy!

Save

how do you hydrate?

The latest fashion accessory is a good looking water bottle. Here are some favorites:

1. The classic Swell bottle comes in multiple sizes (go big!) and more designs than you can imagine. The fashionable choice: monochromatic solids and metallics  2. Corksicle’s non-slip, easy grab shape makes it unique  3. This BPA free plastic number, is easy to use with a flip top/carry ring, one hand operation and comfortable wide mouth is a winner in the functionality department. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe. From Contigo  4.  Easy to look at perhaps hard to use, the notebook style water bottle fits easy in a pocket or purse.  5. Boho chic, the good old fashioned canning jar gets a new life with screw in beverage top.  6. If you’re going to have a small opening water bottle you gotta have one of these.

Save

Save

Save

graduation goodie

When I graduated from college, I sent my high school girlfriends all graduation gifts:  my favorite cheap pens wrapped beautifully, as if they cost a fortune. This was after all, a momentous occasion to be celebrated — even if only by a token gift. I recently came across these pens and was reminded how something so simple can be spiffed up and made special . . .

pensKate Spade Pens:  box of 6 gold pens, cheap and cheerful $25/set  |  boxed ballpoint pens with gold foil imprinted box interior from top to bottom:  she wears her thoughts on her sleeve; she writes to do lists for her to do lists; she personalizes her business cards with hand written notes  $36/each.

Save

join the club

sqirl

Yummm!  Yummm!  Yummm!

Join the Sqirl Jam Club:  2 jars of scrumptious jam made in Los Angeles, delivered every other month for 4, 6 or 12 months. Yes it’s $15 for each tiny jar but it’s the bomb!

Save

Save

Save

Save

just add rain

51knilawculNo mistaking these eyes. How fabulous to have Audrey looking out for you on a rainy day. Umbrella by Kate Spade  $38

Save

go ahead, write!

postcard-setsWriting an actual postcard may be obsolete these days with texts, email & social media in our pockets at all times but these little beauties give a reason to write and post an actual hand-penned note. Each boxed set contains 100 unique themed postcards — 100 Pantone colors, 100 classic Penguin book covers, 100 Marimekko patterns.

Ready. Set. Write!

Save