January 30, 2012

The same but just the opposite

Happy Monday! I was browsing my fancy pages and came across this photograph that jarred my iPhone photo-gallery memory. Love the contrast between the Sperone Westwater Gallery and the run-down LES buildings around it (left). Similar to the photo I snapped on 38th Street (right). I noticed this building amoung giants on a drizzly night last week. It makes you wonder the timeline of construction and the forces that went into kept these buildings standing.

January 25, 2012


This is insane. Just insane. But the spoof video is even better.

January 24, 2012

Moral Fibers

Animale from Moral Fibers on Vimeo.

Just wanted to share something good that's happening out there in the world (maybe you've heard about it). This t-shirt company I heard about called Moral Fibers which employs artists in impoverished nations (most recently, a line of work from Haitians) by creating sustainable jobs for them as designers. LOVE this t-shirt called "Animale".  The video is a bit corny, but its my attempt to embed videos into Blogger.

January 23, 2012

NYC at night

I should feel lucky to be in one of the world's greatest cities. There is so much to photograph every day but I am often guilty of making excuses (I don't have my camera.. My hands are too cold) or hesitating at capturing some really great moments. Buuut... today I just wanted to share these two shots.... NYC at night always looks better in black and white doesn't it? Happy Monday!

P.S. Picnik, the photo-editing program created by Google is going out of business! They are offering all of their premium capabilities for FREE for several months. So... check it out!

January 21, 2012

Take a Hike!

The Fountain of Life Statue in front of the New York Botanical Gardens; sea nymphs and all!
As part of some recent craze for adventure, the bf and I decided it would be a fabulous idea to leave the city and TAKE A HIKE NEW YORK CITY. As far as scenic hiking trails within 2 hours of NYC are concerned, this book features at least 2 dozen hikes, many with manageable public transportation options, that take you far away from the concrete jungle of NYC. As far as scenic hiking trails are that are amenable to my tolerance of mid-January weather though, that is a different story. But in the spirit of Mother Nature, we trekked forward.

Hm.. maybe we should have reconsidered coming when there were less brown, more green?

There is a small preserved forest in the middle of the New York Botanical Gardens, quaintly known as the "Native Forest". It is a preserved 50-acre remnant of the old-growth woodlands that used to cover all of the  current NYC urban landscape. The trails are straightforward and easy, and 250 year-old birch and maple trees line the dirt paths. There has even been rare sightings of North American Beaver (okay. just once. and it most likely escaped the Bronx Zoo.)

For forest fires?
One might wonder what sort of botanical wonders inhabit the Winter seasons. I can confidently say that there was one garden worth seeing... The Ornamental Conifers! These buggers stay alive through it all and the NYBG had a fantastic display of all kinds of exotic species of Christmas tree look-alikes. There were enough scenic points to keep us interested, including local history spots.
Looks perfect for a star role in "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Old-time Mill on the Bronx River where snuff tobacco was made

Man-made waterfall of Bronx River

In conclusion, I would give the NYBG a two thumbs up and make recommendations to visit again... maybe when there are a few more botanical things to look at!

(note: all photos taken with iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S2)

January 12, 2012

Keep on Rollin'

If you don't own an iPhone or have just been living under a rock, then you may not have heard about a wonderful package of app-joy called Instagram. I, along with ten million other users have uploaded over 150 million photographs onto this web-based application site. Something I didn't know about the program: the name actually pays homage to the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras because these devices took photos in a square shape. 
Instamatic camera circa 1970s
Shutter Talk
  The basic premise Instagram is as a photo-sharing application that converts your iOs photos into square-shaped masterpieces. There are a dozen "filters" that can be applied that can turn drab scenery images into slightly-overworked slightly artistic pieces. Though the filters are non-customizable, they are fun and funky. It's uncanny how some filters just seem to *fit*.

Wiki-showing the 15 filters that is available in Instagram 2.0-released September 2011.

The app has also expanded into a photoblog with weekly contests and features and created quite a community for itself. This blog is one of my favorites to frequent. After much protest from Instagram users, each user's own Instagram images can now be viewed online. (Mine.) Of course, Instagram was also keen enough to link up with Twitter and Facebook, so you can show off your skills on your own social network.

For all you Apple-haters out there, there are ways to get the Instagram-effects without owning an iPhone/iTouch/iPad.

Just for fun, I leave you with some Instagramming of my own (I apologize for the poor framing and crop as it was taken while I was running around in Central Park..)

1. Original 2. Filter 3. Double-Filter (just run a filtered photo through Instagram again, and experiment with color, lighting, etc!)

I think one of my original goals for this site was to have it be a place to display the random photos that I take, especially those taken on my iPhone. Unbeknownst to me is that there is a made-up name for that sort of thing called Phoneography (aka mobile photography aka smartphone photography). Care to share your favorite Phoneography photos?

January 9, 2012

The Dutchie

Now that vacation's over and nobody's saying "Happy New Year", it's time to focus on my other love in life: FOOD.

The Dutchie
I bought this dutch oven for the bf as a Christmas present, hoping to send the very obvious message that he should feed me more. Dutch ovens can be made out of different materials including cast-iron, aluminum, clay and most modern-day ones you see out there are made out of cast-iron, coated in a pretty enamel, and change their Dutch allegiance to French under such brands as "Le Creuset". There are sooo many good things that one can make in a dutch oven. The best would be those dishes which require a lot of sloooow cooking (casseroles, roasts, stews) since the thick walls and heavy lid lock in the heat.

This weekend, we broke out the Dutchie with some slow-cooked Chinese bbq spareribs. We followed the recipe from this site: http://www.eatingoutloud.com/2009/03/chinese-braised-spare-ribs-sticky-deliciousness.html
One modification I'd make to the recipe is to add 1/2 cup less soy sauce and substitute with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar. After all the ingredients are added, the trick with the dish is actually the heavy nursing that'll occur after 45 minutes of slow meat simmering. All the liquid will start to reduce and the meat will carmelize quickly. The meat is so tender it just falls right off the bone. Put it all over a bed of steamed bok choy and rice and enjoy!

 WARNING: Do not cook on an empty stomach as you might find yourself "taste-testing" a bit too much during the simmering process!

January 4, 2012

More of...Year in Vacation Review!

2012 New Year's Resolution: go on more vacation! :) 
Baltimore-July 2011
Cancun-Dec 2011

January 3, 2012

Views from Up There

In all this talk about vacations and traveling, I wanted to share some of my favorites photos from 100-incredible-views-out-of-airplane-windows, shared with me from my friend over at at Pop Culture Scribe.

(I promise, more vacation collages coming up!)


Grand Canyon


San Salvador

The Alps

Wisconsin, USA