As someone who lives and walks this city daily…my blog is all about delving a little deeper, seeing what it has to offer, and capturing the true essence of New York City. Whether you live in Gotham, or just visiting…feel free to look around my blog. Bet you might find something new to do!
P.S. As of the end of April 2013 my more personal postings will now be at The Next Few Years.
CopyrightAll images and content on this site are copyright ©GothamGirl 2009 - 2013, unless stated otherwise. If you'd like to use one of my photos, please give proper credit and link back to this blog.
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Category Archives: Vision and Verb
Full disclaimer on this work of art. I captured this photo from a sign on the door of my favorite tea shop in the East Village, here in the heart of Manhattan. There was no artist signature, so unfortunately I can’t give credit to where credit is due.
It reminds me of my new found love of tea, and especially my daily ritual with matcha. Matcha? Direct from Japan, the tea leaves are grown in the shade to increase chlorophyll content. The leaves are then handpicked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder. Have you tried it? I’ve never been a green tea drinker. In fact, just within this past year I’ve gone from grocery store tea bags to various loose leaf teas, thanks to my teacher and owner of Physical Graffitea. Who knew how different the flavor could be between loose leaf and bags? Anyway, my tea guru (and others) will tell you that one glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content.
Everything Ilana (the owner) told me about matcha is true…
You’ll soon not care about your daily coffee, you’ll reach for your matcha instead…
You’ll enjoy the ritual of using the little bamboo whisk while preparing your matcha…
You’ll love a matcha in the afternoon…no more over stimulation, sleep depriving effects that coffee can provide as you enter your evening…
You’ll feel energized and focused with every drink…
There’s probably many ways to fix matcha, but I use my cute little matcha whisk to mix the powder with a little water and then add warm non-fat soy milk with a squirt of agave for sweetening. Oh, and another full disclosure – real matcha is pricey. Make sure you purchase from a reputable tea dealer. Just like so many things in this world…there are knock-offs out there too. I almost look forward to running out of my matcha just to return to her little tea shop. It’s always enjoyable to head to the East Village…not only do I get to learn more about tea, but one never knows who they may run into…well…because it’s New York City!
Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word. If you have a moment, have a look over at our Shoppe. We’re raising funds, through KIVA, in support of men and women around the world looking to start their own small businesses. We’re making a difference and changing lives! You can too!
Do you ever get those “just toss it” moments? Well this stay in Arizona allowed time in the home office doing just that. As I pulled books and binders off the shelves on the topics of leadership, managing, consulting, service, etc….I had to chuckle as my thoughts went to the NYC studio portion of my bedroom now filled with books on photography, mixed media, and design. Time has brought change and in so many ways it felt so liberating (and perhaps a little bitter sweet) to toss all the books, binders and folders that are no longer a part of my life. (And in full confession it has taken me 10 years into retirement to finally do this!) Which leads me to the topic of my dash binder.
Well the dash binder was put together years and years ago after I came across the following poem…perhaps you’ve come across it too at some point…
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone,
from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?
So my thoughts were to save things throughout the years that would contribute to my dash. So into a binder things would go…personal notes from employees during my corporate years thanking me for being such a mentor to them, notable performance evaluations, newspaper clippings on my short lived consulting business, magazine articles on the book I co-wrote with my business partner, notes of thanks for my time on various boards…you know…that kind of stuff.
As I pulled this binder off the shelf…the question I asked myself…”What are you going to do with all of this that you’ve been saving for 30 plus years?” So I’ve decided, after all this time, what’s important is what I know in my heart. For all the people that have come in and out (and stayed!) in my life…I’ve strived for it to always be about feelings of respect, appreciation and deep sharing…not about the material things at all. So after all these years of saving these things, I now realize a binder is no longer needed to remind me…I feel comfortable and proud of the things they may say…yep, tossed it all.
Thanks to everyone for all of your kind comments on my photography from Mexico and New Mexico! Means so much!
Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb
where a collaborative group of like-minded women from all over the world
share their passion for photography and the written word.
For the first time ever I celebrated the birth of the new year with the coming of the winter solstice by attending Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Concert at the Cathedral of St. John Divine in New York City. A contemporary take on ancient solstice rituals; a time to eliminate commercialism, honor the nature around us and say farewell to the old year. I’d never paid much attention to winter (or summer) solstice and my only past encounter had been attending the Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco, Peru a number of years ago. And honestly at the time, I didn’t appreciate the full meaning behind the event.
As mentioned in a previous post, I’d lost the Christmas spirit over the years along with my New Year’s resolutions that were forgotten by February. The winter solstice experience really spoke to me and brought back the spiritual side for me as well…a rebirth of sorts of hope and goodwill. Researching more about the winter solstice brought awareness of the importance of nature which is why taking a full moon hike upon my return to the Arizona desert was top priority. But before I go there…
A friend of mine (knowing how much I enjoy the full moon – thank you Abby!) shared an app called Mooncast that shows the current phase of the moon and alerts you to the day of the full moon along with day-to-day glances of all the other phases. It even provides reminder notices with the option of having a wolf howl tone on full moon days. So guess what woke me up early my first night back in Arizona? Yep, the howl of the wolf! It scared the shit of of me. The house was so silent it just echoed throughout. A haunting howl interrupting a deep sleep. After figuring out I was in my Arizona home, my first reaction was a coyote is outside my bedroom window. But once I got my wits together, I knew the window couldn’t be open because of the cold weather. But it was so clear and loud, as if beside me. I snuggled under the covers, heart pounding, trying to figure out where the sound could be coming from. Then it dawned on me. A full moon alert from my iPad mini. So that was the start to my full moon day.
So late that evening at 7:00 p.m. I joined a number of other hikers to experience a two hour full moon hike out in the wilds of the Sonoran desert, the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area. We made our way into the desert canyon softly illuminated by the silver moon. Surrounded by silhouettes of huge saguaros and open ridgelines, the chill of the night made the whole experience magical. The capture above was the best I could do without a tripod, but it will always be a treasure to me and a reminder of a wonderful start to a new beginning.
Cross-posted this week over at Vision & Verb where women from all over the world
share the written word and wonderful photography! Come visit us!
Meditation has never been easy for me. To find the time to sit still, to follow one’s breath and to not let your mind wander. That’s the hardest part for me…to not let my mind wander…and yes every book on meditation will tell you when your mind is distracted simply return to following your breath. Ok, easier said than done. I’ve read over and over that the more you practice the easier it gets. Hmmm…
Close your eyes. Then sleep prevails. (I’m one of those that can sleep anywhere. And I mean anywhere.) Open your eyes. Then my mind is all over the place. It wasn’t until I read about “gazing” meditation that it all seemed to click for me. You gaze at a focal point that captures your sight. Bingo!
Let me share a summarized version of the process written by Elizabeth Reninger, a freelance writer and Taoist practitioner. She suggests using a flower, a single blossom. Not a huge bouquet, just a flower with a single blossom that inspires you. Follow these easy steps:
1. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably and place the flower 12 – 16 inches in front of you at eye level. In other words, keep your spine and head in an upright and comfortable aligned position throughout the practice.
2. Begin with a couple of deep, slow breaths. Release the tension when exhaling, especially those muscles in your neck, jaw, face and shoulders.
3. Allow your gaze to rest gently on the flower and smile. Invite your eyes to receive the image and its energy, drinking in the color, shape, scent and healing energy of the flower. The key is to keep your gaze soft, receptive, playful and relaxed.
4. Be aware of the flower in the context of the entire room, while at the same time choosing to keep the flower in the foreground of your attention.
5. When you’re ready to end the practice, allow your eyes to gently close. See if you can still feel the presence of the flower in front of you. Then take a couple of deep, slow breaths — bringing your attention fully back into your own body. Rest quietly for a minute or two, noticing the effects of the practice, and then open your eyes.
This practice has been recent for me, in fact I just started this a couple of weeks ago in the forest on my parent’s farm shortly after reading Reninger’s article. This really seems to work for me! (Thank you Elizabeth!)
Do you have a favorite meditation routine? Would love to hear about it!
Cross-posted over at Vision & Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.
My mornings here in the Sonoran desert have started early…a few minutes after the start of civil twilight when there’s just enough light to ensure I don’t step on a rattlesnake while traipsing through the desert…ahhh…that magic time for photographing… just when the sage brush appears on fire and the tree bark turns golden as the sun begins to rise…
Ever since I was a little girl, certain trees have always fascinated me. It started with the weeping willow. We had several on the farm and I can remember playing under them and trying to swing from the branches like something out of Tarzan. There was a beauty when they’d sway in the breeze, with almost a gothic look about them… Then on family vacations to Florida, we visited Cypress Gardens and the ominous banyan tree mesmerized me, as well as the Spanish moss cascading from the tree tops. Now fast forward and the desert ironwood has since cast its spell…
I don’t know what it is…but it’s the dead ones that touch my heart…that butterfly in the stomach feeling when I see the perfect one during twilight, morning or evening. I’m clueless as to what all of this means, but I’m sure my mom is thinking about now….well you did love Dark Shadows and your bedroom was painted black. Hmm…what does all of this say about me?
(Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.)
As a child in the late 1950′s, my favorite book was Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. A book about wild ponies running free on a small island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland. I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Yep, one of many items on my bucket list…a visit to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands in the Chesapeake Bay area to experience first hand the land of Misty.
In the book, one of the ponies, Phantom, is the mysterious of them all. A rarely seen wild mare that evades all efforts of being captured…until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and decides they can’t live without her. A creature forever of the wild, she brings to the island a gentle, loyal colt Misty and the story unfolds…
There’s no better way to explore the remote areas around the islands than by boat and especially during the evening hours. After much research and reading many rave reviews, Daisey’s Dockside Nature Cruises was the chosen one. The Daisey’s were among the original settlers of Chincoteague and their love for the island has been passed down through generations.
Immediately upon arriving at the boathouse, we were greeted by friendly staff, introduced to our captain and led to an exceptionally clean and extremely comfortable 24-foot pontoon boat. Limited to six passengers to each boat, plenty of room was available to relax and move around in preparation for an evening filled with oohs and ahhs. To our delight, the excursion featured views of the world-famous wild ponies, dolphins, bald eagles and all kinds of other birds in their native habitat.
Besides the incredible tranquility of the scene, our captain – Nate – a life-long “Chincoteaguer” was the best. Knowledgeable, caring, funny…a true southerner…you immediately felt part of the Daisey family straightaway. Not at all in a hurry, our two hour cruise went into overtime without a concern in the world. An evening cruise turned sunset cruise and then a moonlight cruise as we headed to better viewing areas north of the islands. A bucket list item come true and one that will always remain in my heart, just as Misty has all of these years.
Bucket Lists. Some people believe in them…others do not. Personally, I’ve always felt if you write down your goals and dreams you’re more apt to accomplish them. Are you a believer?
(Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.)
What started out as a simple way to share my experiences with friends and family has turned into a full blown passion; seeking the light. When my love of photography kicked in again after being dormant for some thirty plus years, for me it was all about capturing the moment. Don’t get me wrong, it still is. But what I’m learning about this passion is not only capturing the moment, but finding that moment at the right time of day. As simple as it is, how brilliant when someone termed it the magic hour!
(Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the worldshare their passion for photography and the written word.)
The last time I opened my chakra so I could feel my peace, I got thrown right out of the pub.
~Terri Guillemets, creator of The Quote Garden
(Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb where a collaborative group of like-minded women from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.)