beautiful tangible things

Mulling over my life in Manhattan

Spring Blossoms, Bonnets and Bunnies

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The last of the snow drops have blossomed and appear tired.  Time for them to go to sleep until next year.

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easter and spring-3But vibrant crocus abounds in Central Park.

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Including a beautiful mix of white and purple.

easter and spring-5I had the pleasure of attending a “Doggie Easter Egg Hunt” in South Street Seaport last week sponsored by The Salty Paw.

spring easter-11A fun group of dog owners and their beloved pets dressed in their Easter finest for the occasion.

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spring easter dog-1Some of the dogs didn’t appear to be happy to be there…

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Peonies and Perspective

PeoniesColor-1Once the local peonies come to the market I know summer is on it’s way.  And just like summer, their glorious season is short but oh so beautiful.  This bunch came to me as a pick-me-up from my husband when I had a back injury.

PeoniesColor-8I almost feel like flower photography is a cop out.  Flowers: real original.  Of course they are beautiful! Especially peonies with their mass of delicate petals creating a fluffy dense interior.  But back in June when these pictures were taken and I was stuck in my apartment, they were my only source of inspiration. I was feeling fragile as I entered a new phase in my life and needed to escape into my camera lens.

PeoniesColor-12The light on them here reminded me of fine bone china that you can see through, handle with care!

PeoniesColor-4Even when the petals fell of the blooms and nestled in the leaves below there was beauty to be found in the shapes and shadows.   Change can be scary but if you embrace it, there’s so much to see!

PeoniesColor-3Pick up the pieces…

PeoniesColor-5Put them somewhere else, mix it up a little and there’s a whole new perspective. Confetti! Birthday cake!! What do you see??

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Teeling’s, Feelings and Fifty Years

 

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Ready for a road trip? This one is going to take you across the pond.  Well, it took my parents across the pond – all the way to Ireland to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  Having done some photography for Teeling Whiskey, I was able to pull a few strings to get them a sneak preview of their newly built distillery in Dublin.  My love of photography was definitely inspired by my dad, and apparently, so was my love of whiskey! All pictures in this post were taken by him and here’s a wee bit of the spirit of Dublin and the spirit of my parents!

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The new Teeling Distillery which just opened.

Was this your first time visiting a distillery?

MOM: Yes, it was my first trip to a distillery.

DAD:  It was the first legal one I visited.

I need to a follow up on that answer, Dad.  Please elaborate!

DAD: Well, let’s see now.  I must have been to some moonshine outfit in my 76 years but the exact details are a little fuzzy.  Well, come to think of it, my grandfather and grandmother made a whiskey during prohibition but that was before my time.

MOM: My grandparents had a still in their basement also and that’s where my parents met!

So, you’re saying my ancestors on both sides were bootleggers.  That explains a lot! 

New Make flowing

New Make flowing

What impressed and/or surprised you most about your visit to Teeling?

DAD: That the Teeling Distillery is the only operating one in Dublin.  Also that it is the first new distillery built there in over 125 years.

MOM: The exactness and cleanliness of the whole process.  Every step of the process was immaculate! I was surprised it doesn’t smell funny!

What exactly did it smell like?

MOM: It was like a sweet, oatmeal scent.  It wasn’t a sour fermenting smell, it was very pleasant.

What did you sample on the tour? Did you have a favorite sample?

MOM: I believe it was the Teeling Single Grain but after a tour of two brew houses the same day, one stout and one Irish Whiskey, how would I know?

DAD: We sampled their Single Grain Irish Whiskey.  It was excellent!

What’s your favorite word in Gaelic?

MOM: That would be sláinte!

DAD: Sláinte, which literally translates to “health” in Gaelic and used as a drinking toast in Ireland and Scotland .

Do Irish Eyes really smile?

MOM: They certainly do! And everyone is happy to share a story and a drink with a twinkle in the eye.

DAD:  Yes, they do and they also sing and dance as well.  The Irish are truly some of the most welcoming, friendly and fun people I have ever met.  They just seemed to be happy!  Maybe that’s due to the fact that we spent a lot of time in restaurants and bars and that’s when people are happy.  If I went to an iron ore pit maybe the people wouldn’t have been as happy!

Did you dance in Ireland?  

DAD: YES! I did at Cassidy’s in Dublin!  I was up by the band and singing along and a young lassie named Colleen asked me to dance.  I had fun! I didn’t care what I looked like!DSC_2868

Is Teeling on your shelf at home now? 

DAD: Of course! We bought the Teeling Single Grain and the Small Batch.  We look forward to sharing it with you with it when you come down.

What’s the key to being together and as happy as you two for 50 years?

DAD: I would say your mother probably has a lot of patience with me. I’m probably not the easiest guy to live with!  You just have to marry a saint and it will all work out!

MOM: When issues come up, forgive, forget, and go on.  Just be forgiving and loving.

So, in summary accept your faults, forgive other’s faults, be loving and see the goodness in each other.  I imagine a dram of whiskey at the end of the day makes that all a lot easier!

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A big thank you to Laura Baddish of the The Baddish Group and Sheila Baird of Teeling Distillery for making this tour happen!  And of course, a big thank you to Mom & Dad for working on this post with me and being awesome role models!  Happy 50th Anniversary!!!!!

Join Me on the Rooftop

Nighttime photography can be tricky and I have very little experience with it.  But when invited to have dinner on a dear friend’s West Village rooftop and couldn’t resist bringing my camera and taking a shot at it.  While the evening was much more about spending time with friends rather than taking pictures, I did manage to take a few that I could piece together into a post.  I wasn’t prepared with a tripod and snapped away as quickly as I could so I could get back to the conversation and lovely dinner.  Rooftop-4We arrived on the rooftop just as the sun was setting and a few rays were dotted about.  Can’t you just feel that cool air moving in as the sun sets?

Rooftop-2Incredible views include the Freedom Tower…

Rooftop-1Which was made even more beautiful as the sun set.

Rooftop-3A silhouette of downtown Manhattan with a watercolor sky.

Rooftop-5The star of the show was the iconic Empire State building, pictured here against a midnight blue sky.  And it probably was midnight. And I had probably worn out my welcome by that time!

Rooftop-10Even an eyesore by day (building under construction on the far right) turns into a jewel box at night.

Rooftop-11The Freedom Tower glowed strong and proud.

Rooftop-8And our skyline of candles (flameless, we follow rules!) glowed warm against the Manhattan skyline.

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Goodnight, Moon, I mean Hendricks Gin blimp!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

America Is Hard to See: An Exhibit at the Whitney Museum

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Let’s take it from the top.  Because that’s the best place to start a journey at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown Manhattan.  It’s pretty hard not to immediately run outside on the beautiful terraces and drink in the view of Manhattan and the view of the terraces below.

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Benches provide a great place for conversation but don’t you dare sit on one of those sculptures!

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Somehow the modern sculpture makes so much sense with the old Manhattan architecture including these water towers.

Whitney-8The building is stunning, airy and provided ample space to view the art on a very crowded Thursday afternoon.  Sculptures and paintings are thoughtfully exhibited creating an entirely new work of art when viewed together.

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I love how this sculpture, David Hammons Untitled, which was at first creepy looking  to me, turned into a 3D inkblot when viewed along with these black and white silhouettes. (ok, it’s still creepy! it’s made of human hair and other stuff and kind of looks like a spider)

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My Loyal Subjects

cateyes-6If I’m ever stuck for a subject matter to photograph, I always resort to my cats.  So if you don’t like cats, ya better tune out now.

cateyes-2Sun in Eliza’s eyes.  I don’t think her pupils could get any smaller!

cateyes-4Late day light on Eliza.

cateyes-8Max doing his morning stretches.

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cateyes-10Eliza’s intense gaze.

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cateyes-3Different light casting different colors on Eliza’s eyes.

cateyes-5 (1)I promise! She isn’t possessed!

Mystery Picture

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If you’d like to know where I took this picture, pop on over to It’s just the booze dancing…

Here’s a big hint….

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Cheers!

Are You Sick of Snow Yet?

snowflake-2Well, take another look. Please?

snowflake-12I promise you there is beauty hidden in that white cold stuff.  I was determined to find it so I decided to try my hand at snowflake photography.

snowflake-20This was my first attempt. Duh.

snowflake-1I went to the rooftop of my building in what was practically a blizzard and realized there was no way I was going to get a shot.  The wind was whipping, my hands were freezing and my camera was getting wet.  I realized the conditions need to be just right for this project.  It needs to be VERY cold and preferably not snowing too hard.  One Saturday morning the conditions looked good.  I decided to capture the snowflakes on the juliet balcony outside my living room window.  I grabbed a chair, my coffee and my camera.

snowflake-25Don’t worry, I didn’t put  Max out there, it’s a fur collar that I used to as a bed for the very fragile snowflakes to alight on.

snowflake-6Snowflake photography is like a treasure hunt. It’s very exciting when you see that perfectly formed flake ready to be captured by your lens.  I literally would gasp when I saw a good one.  This was one of the most beautiful ones but unfortunately I didn’t get a great picture of it.

snowflake-9 A lot of flakes are already broken apart or clumped together making them unsuitable for photography.

snowflake-26It’s hard to tear yourself away from photographing snowflakes, you just have so much hope that the next flake that falls is going to be a stunner.  The only thing that stopped me from photographing was a change in the weather or the sun going down.

snowflake-4It takes a lot of patience and a steady hand.  The first couple of times I tried I didn’t use a tripod then I wised up. Although I did get my best picture (last one in this post) shooting freehand. This one looks like the ghost of a snowflake to me or one of those old UFO sightings!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s Four Roses!

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If the usage of the singular verb tense with a plural subject bothered you…good! I like you already.  But guess what?  It’s not incorrect because we’re talking about Four Roses Bourbon.  And cheese.  Not grammar.  Clearly.  Because as you’ll see, I’m fond of sentence fragments.  But back to the bourbon and cheese.

4rosescheese-1Yep.  Bourbon and Cheese.  Way back in September, when Juno and Linus were but a twinkle in our beloved meteorologists’ eyes, I went to an event which paired Four Roses Bourbon and cheese at the French Cheese Board in Manhattan.  Max McCalman, Maitre Fromagier (expert cheese guy) hosted the event and created the pairings with three Four Roses bourbons.  Max was out to dispel the notion that you can only pair wine and cheese, and in my book, he succeeded.

bourboncheese-1The first cheese was Mimolette.  This is a bright orange, crystalline cheese that’s almost like a parmesan and was paired with Four Roses Yellow Label.  Max referred to it as “an introductory cheese with an introductory bourbon.”  The saltiness of the cheese was a beautiful match for the fruit forward flavors in the bourbon.  Picture a cheese plate accompanied by pears and apples – that’s what it was like.

bourboncheese-4The second pairing (which was my favorite) was Comte and Four Roses Small Batch.  Comte is a semi-hard cheese with a creamy texture and nutty aroma.  This cheese has a long finish and held up great to the 45 ABV of Four Roses Small Batch .  Max said he paired them because he felt they brought out the vanillin in each other.  I did too. For me this pairing exemplified what pairings are all about; each elevated the other creating an entirely new flavor – a really delicious one.

bourboncheese-7Lincoln Log inspired cheese display.  Or Jenga.  You choose. Play nice.

 

bourboncheese-6The last pairing was Four Roses Single Barrel and Epoisse.  Epoisse is a super soft, stinky cheese that is so gooey it almost needs to be eaten with a spoon.  Max called bourbon “America’s cognac” and the plum and spiciness of Four Roses Single Barrel make a good case for that.  This was a really rich, salty cheese that needed a powerhouse of a bourbon like Four Roses Single Barrel to stand up to it.  Forget dessert, I’ll take this (and a glass of water).

bourboncheese-8So next time you’re enjoying a cheese plate, why not try it with bourbon?  Many thanks to the Booze Dancing crew for letting me cover this event and to the Baddish Group for the invitation.

 

A Viewing of Silver Summers

b&w-1I recently went to an exhibition in Soho of Tina Barney‘s newest series “Silver Summers” which was her first ever in black and white.  And as a nod to that, I decided to convert my pictures in black and white for this post.

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b&w-6Wanting to be inconspicuous, I took all of the pictures with my iPhone.  Taking pictures on the sly left me with quite a few shoe pictures and evidence that black stockings were de rigueur.

b&w-8Shapes and shadows take front and center in black and white pictures.

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