Archive for November, 2010


lluvving vespas…………

I put the pen down and looked up via Veneto, the street that the restaurant faced. It was a wide, stately avenue flanked with regal appartamenti decorated with stone balconies and potted plants. It ended at the Piazza Barberini. A hotel sat at one side of the piazza. Its unimaginative brick front looked more like an American hotel, but surrounding it were stuccoed buildings painted brick-orange, their windows and shutters thrown open. Taxis and scooters and the tiniest of cars zipped around the circular piazza. And not just any scooters. Vespas! Rome wasn’t just the capital city of Italy, it was the capital city of Vespa country. They skirted the fountain and shot up via Veneto. I itched to get my fingers on the handgrips of one of them.

I kept thinking about the summer I’d spent in Rome years ago. It was during that time that my friendship with Maggie solidified into sisterhood. Maggie and I immersed ourselves in Roma, in our fellow students, our professors, the tenets of international and comparative law, and it was as if a happy bubble had sprung up around us. Of course, there were the usual traveler’s woes—blisters adorning our feet, having to wash your underwear in a dorm sink—but I loved every bit.
But if the architecture and the setting were somewhat unremarkable, the feel of the place—the energy—wasn’t. Rome is a seen-it-all kind of place. No matter how much the Italians delight in things—food and wine and sex, to name a few—the fact remains that their cultural DNA includes a world weariness of it all. And yet the American students who studied at Loyola were visiting Italy, and sometimes Europe, for the first time. They were wide-eyed, eager to see, to learn, to live. And so the campus with its otherwise sleepy appearance hummed with that energy. It vibrated at a low level but with a certain light that colored everything a pretty ochre, that made the place soothing and yet made it sing.

I kept studying the book, hoping I could divine the gallery Elena had mentioned, the one where she was working and which she said was close to her heart. The problem was, I didn’t know Elena very well. I didn’t know what moved her heart. Come to think of it, I wasn’t sure what moved my own heart these dayWhen I was last in Rome, if a reasonably attractive woman stopped on the street to consult a map or much less ate alone at a restaurant, as I was doing, it would invite a torrent of male attention. The men would literally surround you—touching you, shouting come-ons in a desperate mix of Italian and English. It became one of Italy’s few liabilities.
Maggie very much wanted a family. It was the husband part of that proposition that was causing her trouble.

Only one other person was in the salon when I entered, a man lying on his back on one of the four gray chaises in the middle of the room. I sat on another chaise, then feeling a little cautious, I lay back, too. The fresco, called Divine Providence, depicted historic figures frolicking across a luminous, heavenly blue sky. I thought about my father, who always resided in a similar place in my mind—in a beautiful, warmly lit other-universe where he floated about, with no worries, but always able to see Charlie and me, always watching us.

“As you can see, most of the works here are not from famous artists,” she said. “But that wasn’t the point of the Palazzo Colonna. These were amassed to give a collective impression of beauty. The intention is that one doesn’t need to be an art historian to appreciate this place. You don’t need to study each little brush stroke, every inch of gold.” She waved her arm and spun around, and in that moment I could see her as a young girl, joyous and inquisitive and free of any sadness. “I think it is important what this place teaches,” she said. “I am not a historian, but I learn from the palazzo every day. It teaches you to look at the whole. Not one individual masterpiece.”

“Exactly,” she said, clearly pleased. “That is why I love Rome, too, and that is what keeps me here.” She pointed to the cannonball and smiled. “The flaws are many when you look. Mistakes have been made. And yet the overall effect is one of true beauty, a beauty that transcends any mistakes.”
I looked in her eyes. “Do you believe the same about people?” I asked. “That they can be flawed and make mistakes and still have a transcendent beauty?”
She nodded. “Yes, a beauty inside them, not just out.”

“He was curious like you,” Aunt Elena said.
“That sounds more like my brother, Charlie.”
Elena gave me the slow grand shrug Italians have mastered. “Maybe. Christopher wanted to know everything.” She held up a finger. “Correction. He wanted to understand everything. There is a difference.” She looked at me for a sign of comprehension.
I nodded slowly, thinking about what she’d said. “There is a difference between knowing something or memorizing it, and truly understanding it.”
“Yes, that’s right. And true understanding requires a much deeper curiosity, a willingness to seek for motivations and appreciate subtleties. But that kind of curiosity can be dangerous.”
“Why?”

“Because you begin to think that maybe the world isn’t so black and white, maybe people aren’t, either. You don’t realize that some people truly are black. Just black.”

albino….cool colour combos

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/complete/S2011RTW-ALBINO

soul

What is the “soul,” anyway? Is it a ghostly blob of magic stuff within us that keeps us connected to the world of dreams and the divine realms? Is it an amorphous metaphor for the secret source of our spiritual power? Is it a myth that people entertain because they desperately want to believe there’s more to them than just their physical bodies? …………………. The soul is a perspective that pushes us to go deeper and see further and live wilder. It’s what drives our imagination to flesh out our raw experience, transforming that chaotic stuff into rich storylines that animate our love of life. With the gently propulsive force of the soul, we probe beyond the surface level of things, working to find the hidden meaning and truer feeling.

interiors

http://www.greatinteriordesign.com/apartment-interior-design/small-apartment-with-colourful-funky-retro-interior-design-by-adrienne-chinn/  Small Apartments sofa design with colourful funky Retro style
Small Apartments sofa design with colourful funky Retro style by Adrienne Chinn

Small Apartments graphic touch on the sofa
Small Apartments graphic touch on the sofa by Adrienne Chinn

Colourful Funky Bedroom
Colourful Funky Bedroom of Small Apartments interior by Adrienne Chinn

Funky Retro style Bedroom
Funky Retro style Bedroom of Small Apartments interior by Adrienne Chinn

Funky Retro style Apartments dining room design
Funky Retro style Apartments dining room design by Adrienne Chinn

Funky Retro orange wallpaper of Small Apartments dining room
Funky Retro orange wallpaper of Small Apartments dining room by Adrienne Chinn

Small Apartments Modern Funky Bathroom
Modern Funky Bathroom of Small Apartments by Adrienne Chinn

Small Apartments stylish sofa and felt cushions
Small Apartments stylish sofa and felt cushions by Adrienne Chinn

http://www.greatinteriordesign.com/uncategorized/mural-wall-decoration-in-hotel-fox-rooms/

http://www.teojasmin.com/   -pop art -cushions etc.

You are a Baby

DON’T SAY A WORD-Barbara Freethy

Slowing down was not part of Alex’s nature. Venturing into unknown territory, taking the photograph no one else could get, that was what he lived for.

She just needed to convince Alex to go along with it. But he was a lot like his father- stubborn, secretive, and always leaving to go somewhere. It was no wonder he wasn’t married. He couldn’t commit, couldn’t settle, couldn’t put a woman before his work-just like Charles.

He was definitely not a nine-to-five business executive or a corporate worker bee. He was a photojournalist who roamed the world, a free spirit. No wonder he’d chosen to live here when he was in town. “This neighborhood fits you,” she said.

He nodded in agreement. “It does. Freedom to be different is a luxury in many corners of the world. It’s nice to be reminded that it still exists here in San Francisco.”

“Sometimes strangers end up lovers,” Dasha said. “It happened to me when a stranger asked to share my umbrella in the rain.” A soft look came into her eyes. “We were both supposed to be with other people. We’d made promises, but love doesn’t always go as one plans, and sometimes promises have to be broken. We’ve been together forty-two years now, and we’ve been through many rough storms, but they’re easier to bear when there’s an umbrella to share and a stranger who has become a good friend.” Dasha smiled and returned to the deli counter.

The next day Julia attended Sunday morning Mass surrounded by DeMarcos. They took up almost three rows at St. Mark’s Catholic Church. This was her family. This was her place in the world, she thought, as the priest spoke about community. It was almost as if he were speaking directly to her, telling her that the most important thing in the world was to cherish the people around her.

She stared at his hard profile. He looked so alone, so lost in his misery. She wanted to help him, but he wouldn’t let her. He was a proud man who had high expectations for himself. He didn’t tolerate failure or incompetence, and right now he was blaming himself for something he couldn’t have prevented.

It’s true I’m confused. But the one thing I’ve come to realize in the past few days is that I want to live my life to the fullest. I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to stop myself from asking questions or stating my opinion because I’m afraid the person I’m talking to will get hurt. I want to be free, Michael. I want to travel. I want to work on my music, on my goals. And I don’t want to cheat myself or you. That’s what I’d be doing if I married you.”

“I doubt that will ever happen. I’m far too inhibited.” She licked her lips as his gaze roamed her face, as if he were searching for all her personal secrets. There were some things she didn’t want to share with him.

“Are you inhibited?” he asked. “Or is that just the way you’ve been raised to be?”  “It’s the same thing.”   “It’s not. I believe we’re influenced by our environment, the people in our lives.”  “I suppose that’s true. My mother was very big on rules and doing the right thing, telling the truth, never going astray. She and my father made such a big, happy family life for us that it was easy to be content in it. It wasn’t until she died that I started to look around and wonder what else I wanted. I must say it’s difficult to believe she might have been the biggest liar of all.” Every time Julia thought about the lies, her heart hurt.

She loved the way his mind worked. He was sharp, perceptive, interesting-a truly fascinating man. He lived a life that she wanted. Not the photography part, but the traveling part.

“How can you be so patient?” she asked. “I thought you were a man of action.”

“When it’s called for. But I also know how to wait for the perfect light, the right angle, and the clearest view. Your mind takes photographs of everything you see just the way a camera does. Eventually it will develop those early pictures for you.”

Alex shrugged, kicking off his shoes. “Never look back,” he advised. “It doesn’t do any good.”

He spoke as head gardeners should speak–mournfully, but with dignity–like an emperor at a funeral.

It was indeed characteristic of Bundle to be

in a hurry, especially when driving a car. She

had skill and nerve and was a good driver,

had it been otherwise her reckless pace would

have ended in disaster more than once.

It was a crisp October day, with a blue sky

and a dazzling sun. The sharp tang of the air

brought the blood to Bundle’s cheeks and

filled her with the zest of living.

In my opinion half the people who

spend their lives avoiding being run over by

buses had much better be run over and put

safely out of the way. They’re no good.”

It occurred to Lady Caterham that her

niece was really wonderfully improved. Had

she, perhaps, had an unfortunate love affair?

An unfortunate love affair, in Lady

Caterham’s opinion, was often highly

beneficial to young girls. It made them take

life seriously.

A damned funny crowd,” said Bundle,

vigorously massaging her arms and legs. “As

a matter of fact, they’re the sort of crowd I

always imagined until to-night only existed in

books. In this life, Alfred, one never stops

learning.”

Looks a good-natured, tubby

little chap. But Codders is absolutely

impossible. Drive, drive, drive, from

morning to night. Everything you do is

wrong, and everything you haven’t done you

ought to have done.”

The rock-like quality of the Superintendent showed out well. Not a muscle of his face

moved.”The best of us are defeated sometimes, sir,” he said quietly.

“I’m much too clever. Always have a good opinion

of yourself—that’s my motto.”

 

 

 Oh, its nothing to do with me,” said

Lord Caterham hastily; “Eileen settles her

own affairs. If she came to me to-morrow and

said she was going to marry the chauffeur, I

shouldn’t make any objections. It’s the only

way nowadays. Your children can make life

damned unpleasant if you don’t give in to

them in every way. I say to Bundle, “Do as

you like, but don’t worry me,’ and really, on the whole, she is amazingly good about it.

. What a fatal thing

it is to pretend to take an interest in a man’s pet subject.

 

THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT

“Yes, the ‘Colonel’ has always been a generous paymaster. I attribute much of his success to that–and to his invariable plan of providing a suitable scapegoat. A great brain,undoubtedly a great brain! And an apostle of the maxim, “If you want a thing done safely,do not do it yourself!” Here we are, every one of us incriminated up to the hilt and absolutely in his power, and not one of us has anything on him.”

Professor Beddingfield, was one of England’s greatest living authorities on  Primitive Man. He really was a genius–everyone admits that. His mind dwelt in

Palaeolithic times, and the inconvenience of

life for him was that his body inhabited the

modern world. Papa did not care for modern

man–even Neolithic Man he despised as a

mere herder of cattle, and he did not rise to

enthusiasm until he reached the Mousterian

period.

Unfortunately one cannot entirely dispense

with modern men. One is forced to have some

kind of truck with butchers and bakers and

milkmen and greengrocers. Therefore, Papa

being immersed in the past. Mama having

died when I was a baby, it fell to me to

undertake the practical side of living.

I do not know whether Papa guessed my

feelings on the subject, probably not, and in

any case he would not have been interested.

The opinion of other people never interested

him in the slightest degree. I think it was

really a sign of his greatness. In the same way,

he lived quite detached from the necessities of

daily life. He ate what was put before him in

an exemplary fashion, but seemed mildly

pained when the question of paying for it

arose. We never seemed to have any money.

His celebrity was not of the kind that brought

in a cash return. Although he was a Fellow of

almost every important society and had rows

of letters after his name, the general public

scarcely knew of his existence, and his long

learned books, though adding signally to the

sum-total of human knowledge, had no

attraction for the masses.

I yearned for adventure, for love, for

romance, and I seemed condemned to an

existence of drab utility. The village

possessed a lending library, full of tattered

works of fiction, and I enjoyed perils and

love-making at second hand, and went to

sleep dreaming of stern silent Rhodesians,

and of strong men who always “felled their

opponent with a single blow.” There was no

one in the village who even looked as though

they could “fell” an opponent, with a single

blow or with several.

 

“No, doctor, I’m going to London. If

things happen anywhere, they happen in

London. I shall keep my eyes open and,

you’ll see, something will turn up! You’ll

hear of me next in China or Timbuctoo.”

 

And a few minutes later another phrase

floated up to me, in an even more acid voice:

“I agree with you! She is certainly very goodlooking.”

It

is really a very hard life. Men will not be

nice to you if you are not good-looking, and

women will not be nice to you if you are.

My affairs did not progress very fast. The

house and furniture had been sold, and the

amount realized had just covered our debts.

As yet, I had not been successful in finding a

post. Not that I really wanted one! I had the

firm conviction that, if I went about looking

for adventure, adventure would meet me halfway.

It is a theory of mine that one always

gets what one wants.

My theory was about to be proved in

practice.

Things that one would shrink from

attempting normally are easily tackled in a

flush of anger.

For the first

time, I understood the meaning of the much used

word, “atmosphere.” There was an

atmosphere in this house, an atmosphere of

cruelty, of menace, of evil.

IT is an extraordinary thing that I never

seem to get any peace. I am a man who

likes a quiet life. I like my Club, my

rubber of Bridge, a well-cooked meal, a sound

wine. I like England in the summer, and the

Riviera in the winter. I have no desire to

participate in sensational happenings. Sometimes,

in front of a good fire, I do not object

to reading about them in the newspaper. But

that is as far as I am willing to go. My object

in life is to be thoroughly comfortable. I have

devoted a certain amount of thought, and a

considerable amount of money, to further

that end. But I cannot say that I always

succeed. If things do not actually happen to

me, they happen round me, and frequently,

in spite of myself, I become

involved. I hate

being involved.

Suzanne was more discriminating.

I talked it over with her, and she

put it down to a “fear complex.” Suzanne

goes in rather for psycho-analysis. She

pointed out to me that Sir Eustace’s whole

life was actuated by a desire to be safe and

comfortable. He had an acute sense of self

preservation. And the murder of Nadina removed certain inhibitions.

THAT was two years ago. We still live

on the island. Before me, on the rough

wooden table, is the letter that Suzanne

wrote me.

dear babes in the wood-dear lunatics

IN love,

I’m not surprised—not at all. All the time

we’ve been talking Paris and frocks I felt that

it wasn’t a bit real—that you’d vanish into the

blue some day to be married over the tongs in

the good old gipsy fashion. But you are a

couple of lunatics! This idea of renouncing a

vast fortune is absurd. Colonel Race wanted

to argue the matter, but I have persuaded him

to leave the argument to time. He can

administer the estate for Harry—and none

better. Because, after all, honeymoons don’t

last for ever—you’re not here, Anne, so I can

safely say that without having you fly out at

me like a little wild-cat—Love in the

wilderness will last a good while, but one day

you will suddenly begin to dream of houses in Park Lane, sumptuous furs, Paris frocks, the

largest thing in motors and the latest thing in

perambulators, French maids and Norland

nurses! Oh, yes, you will!

But have your honeymoon, dear lunatics,

and let it be a long one. And think of me

sometimes, comfortably putting on weight

amidst the fleshpots!

Your loving friend,

suzanne blair.

P.S.—I am sending you an assortment of

frying-pans as a wedding present, and an

enormous terrine of pate de foie gras to remind

you of me.

Anne, do you remember saying to me

once that women enjoyed doing the things

they disliked for the sake of someone they

liked?”

Anne, I didn’t want to spoil it all. I

wanted to take you back to the island. What’s

the good of money? It can’t buy happiness.

We’d have been happy on the island. I tell

you I’m afraid of that other life—it nearly

rotted me through once.”

I was afraid of all that sort of thing–

the power and fascination of wealth.

“You will excuse me,” I said, “but I never

do business with anyone but principals.”

I had read the phrase or something like it in

a moneylender’s circular, and I was rather

pleased with it. It certainly had a devastating

effect upon Mr. Chichester-Pettigrew. He

opened his mouth and then shut it again. I

beamed upon him.

“My Great-uncle George’s maxim,” I

added, as an afterthought. “Great-aunt Jane’s

husband, you know. He made knobs for brass

beds.”

 

 

https://excerptsandm.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/tiantanbuddha-1.jpg?w=300

https://i2.wp.com/travelerfolio.com/travelerfolio/photos/tian_tan_buddha_lantau_island_hong_kong.jpg

https://excerptsandm.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/hk11.jpg?w=300

Minimalist living

Minimalist living eliminates the

 distractions – the clutter, the chores, the

 debt – that devour our time and energy

. When we’re not slaves to our to-do lists

, we have the freedom to relax, wander

 about, and explore new possibilities.

goals

http://www.missminimalist.com/2010/09/minimalist-philosophy-wildflower-goals/

When you spend time in the blogosphere, you hear a lot of talk about goals: personal goals, professional goals, finance goals, development goals, creative goals, short-term goals, long-term goals, etc. (Sometimes it can be exhausting just reading about them all!)

And if you’re a blogger, you’ll inevitably be asked to talk about your own goals. The question often comes up during interviews, and should be a snap to answer, right? Err, not for me.

You see, I’ve never been good at long-term planning – I don’t really like to outline (or even know) where I’m going to be one, five, or ten years from now. Accordingly, I’ve always been reluctant to define, write down, or consciously work toward a set of prescribed goals.

I was chatting about this with my husband the other day, while we were on one of our countryside walks. Over the last year, we’ve been marveling at the ever-changing panorama of wildflowers, and every time we go out, we look forward to what new beauty awaits us. We’ve been treated to bluebells, Queen Anne’s lace, poppies, thistles, wild roses, sowbread, and fields full of blooms we’ll never identify. No one plants them, fertilizes them, waters them, or otherwise cultivates them – they just spring forth, wild, ungroomed, and spontaneous, surprising and delighting us.

I like to think of my goals the same way: popping up like wildflowers, changing with the seasons, dazzling me with their spontaneity and variety.

Sometimes my goal is to finish writing a book, sometimes it’s keeping up with my blog, sometimes it’s learning key phrases in Italian, Hungarian, or Japanese. Sometimes my goals are easy (cook an edible dinner), sometimes they’re challenging (perfect a certain yoga pose), and sometimes they’re ridiculously farfetched (interest Oprah in minimalist living). They vary from day to day, week to week, month to month. Sometimes I have a whole bouquet of goals, and sometimes I don’t have any at all.

With that in mind, here’s my short guide to having wildflower goals:

1. Give them fertile ground. Keep an open mind, stimulate your intellect, interact with interesting people, and take advantage of interesting opportunities. For optimum growth, expose your goals to as much water and sunlight (in the form of other people’s opinions, ideas, and feedback) as possible.

2. Keep an eye out for new varieties. Sometimes we’re so focused on certain goals, we neglect to notice, or nurture, new ones that arise. Regularly survey your landscape, and don’t let those promising new buds escape your attention.

3. Let them surprise and delight you. Leave room for new and unexpected goals in between the ones you’ve “planted.” Learning to paint or play a musical instrument may spring up spontaneously among your more “serious” goals – instead of dismissing them as frivolous, embrace them as a wonderful new flowering of your interests.

4. Let them grow on their own. Don’t feel compelled to tend to your goals every minute of every day. The hardy ones will survive just fine on their own, ready for you to pick and pursue them when the time is right.

5. Let them change with the seasons. Instead of rigidly defining your goals, allow them to develop more fluidly. Goals you set last year may no longer be as relevant or desirable to you now – instead of forcing them to bloom, let them go to seed. Embrace new ones that arise in their place.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t set goals – they’re a fabulous way to help you stay focused and motivated. Rather, I’m saying that you shouldn’t feel compelled to clip, manicure, and overly tend to them. They should be a source of joy and self-discovery, rather than stress or frustration.

How does this relate to minimalist living? Well, when we’re loaded down with stuff, and wrapped up in consumer pursuits, we tend to have tunnel vision. We plod along in a straight line, and pay little attention to what’s going on at the periphery. We concentrate on the goals we set forth last year (or many years ago), and rarely stop for re-evaluation.

Minimalist living eliminates the distractions – the clutter, the chores, the debt – that devour our time and energy. When we’re not slaves to our to-do lists, we have the freedom to relax, wander about, and explore new possibilities.

So let your mental garden grow wild once in a while – you may be surprised what springs forth!

When you spend time in the blogosphere, you hear a lot of talk about goals: personal goals, professional goals, finance goals, development goals, creative goals, short-term goals, long-term goals, etc. (Sometimes it can be exhausting just reading about them all!)

And if you’re a blogger, you’ll inevitably be asked to talk about your own goals. The question often comes up during interviews, and should be a snap to answer, right? Err, not for me.

You see, I’ve never been good at long-term planning – I don’t really like to outline (or even know) where I’m going to be one, five, or ten years from now. Accordingly, I’ve always been reluctant to define, write down, or consciously work toward a set of prescribed goals.

I was chatting about this with my husband the other day, while we were on one of our countryside walks. Over the last year, we’ve been marveling at the ever-changing panorama of wildflowers, and every time we go out, we look forward to what new beauty awaits us. We’ve been treated to bluebells, Queen Anne’s lace, poppies, thistles, wild roses, sowbread, and fields full of blooms we’ll never identify. No one plants them, fertilizes them, waters them, or otherwise cultivates them – they just spring forth, wild, ungroomed, and spontaneous, surprising and delighting us.

I like to think of my goals the same way: popping up like wildflowers, changing with the seasons, dazzling me with their spontaneity and variety.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Sometimes my goal is to finish writing a book, sometimes it’s keeping up with my blog, sometimes it’s learning key phrases in Spanish, Hungarian, or Japanese. Sometimes my goals are easy (cook an edible dinner), sometimes they’re challenging (perfect a certain yoga pose), and sometimes they’re ridiculously farfetched (interest Oprah in minimalist living). They vary from day to day, week to week, month to month. Sometimes I have a whole bouquet of goals, and sometimes I don’t have any at all.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

With that in mind, here’s my short guide to having wildflower goals:

1. Give them fertile ground. Keep an open mind, stimulate your intellect, interact with interesting people, and take advantage of interesting opportunities. For optimum growth, expose your goals to as much water and sunlight (in the form of other people’s opinions, ideas, and feedback) as possible.

2. Keep an eye out for new varieties. Sometimes we’re so focused on certain goals, we neglect to notice, or nurture, new ones that arise. Regularly survey your landscape, and don’t let those promising new buds escape your attention.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

3. Let them surprise and delight you. Leave room for new and unexpected goals in between the ones you’ve “planted.” Learning to paint or play a musical instrument may spring up spontaneously among your more “serious” goals – instead of dismissing them as frivolous, embrace them as a wonderful new flowering of your interests.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

4. Let them grow on their own. Don’t feel compelled to tend to your goals every minute of every day. The hardy ones will survive just fine on their own, ready for you to pick and pursue them when the time is right.

5. Let them change with the seasons. Instead of rigidly defining your goals, allow them to develop more fluidly. Goals you set last year may no longer be as relevant or desirable to you now – instead of forcing them to bloom, let them go to seed. Embrace new ones that arise in their place.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t set goals – they’re a fabulous way to help you stay focused and motivated. Rather, I’m saying that you shouldn’t feel compelled to clip, manicure, and overly tend to them. They should be a source of joy and self-discovery, rather than stress or frustration.

Let your mental garden grow wild once in a while. You’ll feel more relaxed and serene, and may be surprised what springs forth!

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2010/10/31/stories/2010103150310800.htm

One cannot see all of Paris in just one trip…as it seems to reveal a new side each time you visit.

Le Louvre (most famous for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa) is an art-lover’s paradise
Tourist’s delight: Arc de Triomphe.

I never figured exactly why Paris was called that till I set my eyes on this beauty that they call the most gorgeous city in the world. Ok so officially it is called ‘ The City of Lights’ but I prefer the love name over the lights, simply because love all but ricochets off every square inch of the city. I felt a flutter in the pit of my stomach even before I took off and I had certainly done my fair share of travelling so it had to be pure excitement.

Landing at Charles de Gaulle was an experience in itself; the quirky mélange of a dozen lingoes is so contagious I promptly traded in my jet-lag for lustful observation. Luckily for me my husband Chirag having made visits here several times for work, knew the map by-heart; which truly is the clincher in Paris. Always make it a point to talk at length to people who have either lived there or travelled often to make the most of your Parisian experience rather than just a run-of-the-mill touristy one.

“Breathe Paris into your being like a Parisian” my French teacher would always say and I recalled that standing at baggage claim. The metro at the airport was the coolest thing I had set my eyes on (strange as it sounds). As I drank in my first sight of this magnificent place, my husband whisked me into the metro and we were on our way — Paris was waiting for me to explore!

Parisian-like

For anybody with a limited budget, or not wanting to splurge on accommodation since anyway in a place like Paris you’ re not going to be hanging around your hotel too much — Quartier Latin is your calling. Why it’s perfect is because it’s like this young, hip, artsy corner of the city bustling with students, artists and dancers — with a fusion of languages, music and banter; it’ s a peppy space and any among the string of hotels for you to choose from should suffice.

Street life in Paris and Le Louvre.

Ok so everybody has to make that compulsory visit to one of the seven wonders— so do that, enjoy the view at the Eiffel Tower and once done head to other destinations most tourists don’ t get the pleasure of. Le Louvre (most famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa) is an art-lover’s paradise. Even me, who doesn’t have one artistic bone in my body, spent like two full days just glancing at the etchings by world-famous names.

Also try and visit other lesser known ones like Arc de Triomphe or Chateau de Versailles (only if you’ re someone with an artistic eye though). But what truly stood out for me was taking the night cruise on the River Seine (which cuts across the city) then uncorking a bottle of blush right by the river thereafter.

There is a ‘Paris by Night’ option for the ones whose wallets go deeper. Basically though just wake up early and use your feet in Paris, you just never know what majestic sight you might stumble upon. It is a city of layers; she’ll only unravel to you if you really probe.

Wear it, eat it, drink it

Now what’s Paris synonymous with? Fashion, right?! Gosh if I thought I had seen it all as a fashion writer, Paris was my mother ship.

So Champs-Elysees; as though a fashion collection set up just for moi sent me on this delightful trip, with my husband reminding every minute, no, every second that we couldn’t afford even a shoe lace from there so to waste precious time. But was it worth just the peeping or what?!

Another thing that you must do for sure, is visit at least a couple of bistros (Parisian cafes) daily and just spend some time basking in the sunrays and observing Paris walking by; it’ s the perfect way of imbibing the true soul of this city. As for your taste buds, Paris is a gastronomic delight; meat lovers can sample away! A must-try is this meat chain called Hippopotamus (ironic as hippos are veggies) but the succulent noises coming from the hub, showed me how delicious the preparations must be.

Also there being such a heavy influence of Lebanese and Moroccan don’t miss this cuisine that will drive your taste-buds insane with its delectable delicacies.

Friends of the carnivores like me do have to look a little further for vegetarian, but the host of Indian restaurants makes it easier, and if you’ re not fussy the salads are yummo! But it’s always a smart choice to carry some dry munchies just in case. Oh, and even the weight-watchers absolutely ‘ have’ to bid adieu to their diet charts and dip their fingers into the sinful fondue that Paris is oh-so-famous for; don’ t worry your daily walkathon will take care of the calories. Don’t come to Paris and miss this ‘magic in your mouth’; my personal nickname for it. Yes it’s that good!

Paris comesm to life

Paris is a city with no agenda; you have to assimilate into the feel of the city. The metro here is a masterpiece in itself; public transport due to this becomes a piece of cake.

Easy connectivity to every nook makes the city completely accessible even to first-timers. But what’s really worth a mention; the aspect that highlighted itself in the city (and not just because I’ m high on the green cause) is the ‘bicycle drive’; this intricate network of bicycle stands all over the city that one can rent from any point up to any destination of their choice; making transport just so convenient for citizens and tourists alike. I just pray more cities would have the sense to undertake such an initiative, only to battle global warming if nothing else.

Now I know the secret behind the voluptuous French women (who were the object of my constant envy); they practically walk or bicycle for a living, no wonder! The smell of freshly baked bread even today will always transport me to the streets of Paris; the patisseries (bakery) leave me speechless!

The concept of stepping into a bakery even if to bite into a soft, warm freshly baked piece of bread is alien to the rest of the world. I could’ve survived on just the bakery products in the city, if not for the terror of my trainer back home. Paris is simply ‘unique’ in the true sense of the word; if it is at all possible to contain this maze of wonders in one word.

A passionate globe-trotter, incidentally a travel host today when referring to this city always recounted ‘You can never fully explore Paris; she will open up a new side to her persona with each visit’.

I was overwhelmed with my first one and I honestly can’t wait for adventure number deux; whenever that might be. Paris; je t’ aime beaucoup; I add.

PARIS TOP 5

* Travel

Paris is a city best seen on foot, it lets you discover a maze of wonders evasive to most who don’t probe. But the metro makes public transport a blessing for longer distances. Also their meticulously organized bicycle stands across the city is an option for the planet lovers.
* Lodging Quartier Latin – this hip yet affordable part of the city is your solution.
For the ones with the bucks, Paris is your haven, But since most of us are on shoe-string budgets.

* Must-see

The French romantic cabaret ‘Moulin Rouge’ is a spectacular experience in itself. This internationally famous show that threw its doors open in 1889 is unquestionably one of the highlights of your Paris tour.

* Must-munch

Paris a gourmand’s rapture, presenting every kind of delectable cuisine. But it’s the Parisian bistros that are the hidden treasures. Eat your way around these innumerable bistros that dot the city.

* Shopaholic’s delight

So Paris is for the shopaholics. And granted it is criminal to indulge in retail therapy here. But still, for those with a penchant for fashion; save on something else and do take back a style souvenir from the glam capital of the world!

Museums and galleries

* Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs
* Carnavalet
* Centre Georges Pompidou
* Cit‚ des Sciences et del’Industrie
* Cluny
* l’Eglise du Dome
* Delacroix.
* M‚morial de la Shoah
* Jacquemart-Andre Museum
* Picasso Museum
* Les Invalides
* The Louvre
* Mus‚e de l’Orangerie
* Mus‚e d’Orsay
* Mus‚e Marmottan
* Mus‚e National de la Marine
* Rodin Museum
* Mus‚e en Herbe

Don’t miss

* Chartres – The 12th century cathedral of Notre Dame
* Versailles – The Sun King Louis XIV’s magnificent palace
* Giverny – The house of the painter Claude Monet
* Disneyland Resort Paris – In the suburb of Marne-la-Vall‚e
* Fontainebleau – Historical town south of Paris