A Tale of Thievery and Bravery(?) set in a Paris Underground Metro

If at some point in your travels you find yourself going up an escalator in a busy Paris metro and it suddenly stops for no reason, chances are someone is going to get robbed. If you happen to be a tourist juggling luggage, chances are, that someone is you. Oh wait. That someone was me.

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Design the Other 90%: Cities – Cooper Hewitt at the UN

If you are in New York City sometime between now and January 9th and find yourself with a couple of hours to spare, head over to the United Nations to see a great exhibit on how simple solutions can make a tremendous impact.  While the Cooper Hewitt Museum itself is closed for renovations, the UN is hosting its exhibit, Design the Other 90%: Cities. That is where I found myself on a rainy Wednesday in October after skipping the long lines at MOMA in exchange for a less crowded (and free of charge) venue.

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Hangzhou Ghost Story

When I hopped on a Hangzhou bound train with my dad and a friend one balmy May evening last year, I thought I would spend the next two days discovering the mist shrouded beauty of West Lake, where poets and scholars of centuries past gazed from its banks and murmured a few words of prose as they raised a cup of tea to their lips.  Little did I know that the city would extend to me a welcome of the most unearthly kind.

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Feeling Crabby? Just Plate it!

I just renewed my Flickr account and was going through some photos to upload to a Paris set I’m working on and came across this cute little guy. It was part of a window display at a tableware shop I passed by somewhere near Rue de Sèvres. Crabby sits atop these gorgeous plates with coral(color and noun!) accents. I wish I could have brought them home but the owner was out having lunch…

Modern Vintage: Design and Function with your Morning Coffee

I stopped in at the Art Institute of Chicago last month to check out their new modern wing and fell for this little gem of a coffee service set which was part of the museum’s Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life exhibit running through Oct 9, 2011.

Would you have guessed this design is dated from the turn of the 20th century when ornate Victorian was still in vogue?  This coffee service was designed circa 1901/1902 by Austrian artist Jutta Sika who was part of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) artist community.  I love the minimalist blue and white color palette and the geometrical themes that run throughout the pieces!

Xie Xie Starbucks

Say what you will about patronizing U.S. chains when traveling to other countries, but there’s something to be said about comfort and familiarity. Not to mention a clean, Western style bathroom.  I wasn’t the only one who sought respite at a Starbucks on Nanjing Rd bordering the outer edge of People’s Park one rainy afternoon. I saw expat businessmen, European tourists, students from the U of Georgia, and local university students using the place for work, rest, and play.

This particular location is very nice and I imagine on clearer days, the upstairs terrace probably affords a lovely view of the park.  I spent the better part of an hour reposing on a comfortable armchair in self-reflection and curious observation, accompanied by a cup of tea and my journal.  No one hurried me on my way.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of home when you’re thousands of miles away. Thanks Starbucks! (No, this is not a shameless plug.)

Starbucks @ People's Park in Shanghai

Starbucks – Nanjing Rd, at People’s Park in Shanghai.  There are two entrances, one inside the park and one from Nanjing Rd.  Outdoor patio on floor level as well as a terrace upstairs.