Friday, March 30, 2012

Let's Go Fly a Kite

If you're in the DC-area, the Blossom Kite Festival is tomorrow. Whether you plan to fly a kite or watch, we can tell you from experience that it is a beautiful sight (like this photograph).

Wherever you live, perhaps you'd like to make your own kite. And do you remember this song? It's National Kite Month starting tomorrow. Have fun!


(photograph by Andrew/Cuba Gallery)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flower Power

Whether you wear flowers on your head or elsewhere, florals are big this season. GG's editor suppresses a giggle, though, at breathless declarations that flowers are making a comeback. Really? Where did they go?

The influence of Mad Men is also everywhere in style & fashion this spring & will continue as the fifth season airs here in the States. There are plenty of beautiful pale lipsticks available for those tired of red lips or who are convinced (incorrectly) that they cannot wear any shade of red. Megan Draper wore Nars Belle de Jour in Sunday's MM premiere. Bella. If that is too expensive, Revlon has some great pale shades. (For those wanting an eyeliner tutorial, here's one. It really is not difficult.) Finally, a short post with thoughtful comments on mod fashions in "A Little Kiss."


(Jean Shrimpton by Bert Stern)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hatch Hope for Spring

The Easter & Passover holidays will be here before you know it. In fact, they're earlier this year than we thought. This is quite possibly because we forgot to buy 2012 wall calenders & are making do with Sharpie-scrawling over last year's. Oops.

For alternative gifts & cute free Easter cards, visit Heifer International's Hatch Hope campaign. We include Passover, not only in the spirit of inclusion but because eggs are a significant part of the Passover seder plate, too.

No one's saying not to buy chocolate & other gifts for baskets (well, we're not!), but for a little bit extra (or buying a bit less) you can make the gift of a lifetime for a family.

ciao-meow/GG's editor

(vintage illustration via Agence Eureka)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Birds Up Close

Here's a good question from a friend. "What if I don't have transportation out to the country for these birding jaunts so many people talk about? I'm not about to rent a car & all of that. We feel left out."

No worries. We're urban birds ourselves. Honestly, no one is seeing birds any closer than watching a bird cam. Giulia has shown little interest (yet) but her editor swoops in to see Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Red-tailed hawk cam every day. Another daily stop is the very popular Decorah Eagles cam. These are amazing resources for anyone - with or without children to wrangle. Even if you have a passing interest in birds (we aren't major birders), you'll love to peep in. And you'll find yourself wanting to learn more.

For more up close (& colorful!) birds, we highly recommend looking at the weekly Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs.


(Paris café bird by liivia)

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Moon & Venus (with Jupiter)

You’ll find two bright objects near the moon tonight (March 26, 2012) in the western twilight sky. The brighter one – closer to the moon tonight – is Venus. The other one is Jupiter. Enjoy this spectacular sky scene! And don’t forget to look for Venus tomorrow, when it’ll be at its farthest from the sun on the sky’s dome for this evening apparition of the planet. ~ Earthsky/Tonight

We won't even try to explain what's going on in the sky. Or underneath it either. We're reading up about the last Transit of Venus this century. That will be in early June. We missed it in 2004; this will *not* happen again.

Back tomorrow, much earlier.


(photograph by Gordon M. Robertson)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mad Men Prep

Giulia's editor has heard from more than a few people this last week, all confessing Mad Men ignorance. They want to jump on board but are afraid it is too late. People, people. It is never too late. It is good to catch up, though, because these are not cardboard characters; you will find their sometimes awful behavior less upsetting if you like them first. Like in real life.

So here's what you do. You catch up on Netflix, where the four complete seasons stream. (Or Hulu or iTunes. But seriously it is a much better deal via Netflix.)

If you don't have time or patience for that, catch up in your own time & follow these links:

AMC's Mad Men page for newbies.

Rolling Stone's Season 4 recap

One of the best Mad Men blogs is Basket of Kisses with cultural guides & episode reviews. We still loathe the new design but the material is excellent.

Vulture's Mad Men section. Go & read.

If you have some more time:

Ezra Pound Cake's Mad Men week with easy recipes (bonus: funny writer)

AMC's Mad Men Yourself for those avatars you keep seeing on Facebook & Twitter

Rolling Stone's Ultimate Mad Men Playlist

If you do not have a television or cable: do not despair. We watch it on iTunes the next day. The season pass is available now & individual episodes are usually available for purchase the day after the show airs.


(Betty & Don in Rome by Carin Baer for Lionsgate)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Origami Flapping Bird

Here's something fun. Giulia's editor just folded her first origami bird. Ever. Successfully. There are heaps of (free) origami resources on the internetz so here are but a few. A quick search will reap more.

Origami central (unofficially); birds, other animals, flowers, boxes. Really nice.

The video tutorial we tried first. It worked. So here is the origami channel. Next up: a flower to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival (which is ongoing here in Washington, DC).


(photograph by Angélica Vis; more origami photos)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Persian Buttercups

We discovered today that ranunculus are also known as Persian Buttercups. The things you find out when you're supposed to be working:) But it does give us another forum to say Happy Spring, Happy Nowruz*to our Iranian (& those of Iranian descent) friends.

There is nothing quite as intoxicating as walking home with an armload of flowers. While not exactly an everyday luxury, ranunculus are a good value right now. Some ways to arrange them if you want fancier than a jam-jar-on-the-table (though that is really wonderful, too).


*also: Norouz, Norooz, or Noruz

(lovely photograph by Jessica Nichols)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome, Spring

Whether you've had a difficult winter or not, how can you not be happy for spring to arrive? GG & her editor are both sneezing like mad but do we complain? (Why yes, yes we do. Mimph.) Anyway. While we try to get back to a regular schedule, here are some spring things we're up to today (& this week):

For the first time in 15 years (!) defrosted phyllo dough is in our fridge. Time to make something.

Spring poems

Pretty long spring skirts (especially the top photograph)

EarthSky's Tonight remains a favorite visit. Here's the poetic title for Saturday night.

A batch o' foster kittens has finally arrived at Charlene Butterbean's house.

A bald eagle cam (via Jennifer Ehle)

Teddy Bear Toast (for kids of all ages:)


(photograph by i.Anton)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Une Petite Pause

There is no way around this: we have to take a little break. GG will be back in time for St. Patrick's Day. (There will be tweets & pinning, though; you didn't think we could give those up, did you?) Have a great week! Update - Enjoy St. P's & your weekend. We'll not be back for a few more days.

ciao-meow/GG Central

(photograph by kimmika)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Japan, One Year Later

To dear friends & relatives in Japan, our hearts go out to you on this anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake & tsunami. For an excellent comprehensive update, see The Japan Times Online 3/11 anniversary page.

For a more personal update, read Sapphire's One Year After the Disaster. She has lovely photographs, as always & an introduction to alternative energy sources now that nuclear energy's future in Japan is (finally) under intense examination.

xoxo/GG & her editor

(lovely plum (ume) blossoms by moriyu)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sweet Paul's Spring

The spring 2012 issue of Sweet Paul is live today. As always, it's photographed beautifully with good ideas, recipes, tips & easy (not tacky, ahem) crafts. Of particular interest for those planning trips to Paris: 5 days, 10 meals by photographer Ellen Silverman.

You can download any (or all) of these 5 pretty computer wallpapers available on Paul's blog.


(photograph by Alexandra Grablewski for Sweet Paul)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day (or buona Festa della Donna)! You'd think we would be ready with all manner of links, bouquets of virtual mimosa & more. Nope.

No matter. Here's the official website with lots of great links & ideas. There are so many wonderful organizations celebrating today. Feed Projects is running a Twitter contest through Friday for a beautiful bag. Tweet them the name of a woman who inspires you. The only difficult aspect of that is choosing amongst many--a welcome problem if ever there were one.

For some ideas--fun & more serious--here's a list of 10. Add your own. There's no right or wrong way to celebrate.

Bouquets of mimosa to our friends& sisters around the world. xoxo

Giulia & her editor

(Bouquet de mimosas by Bonnard)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Hundred Years of Cherry Blossoms

While the centennial National Cherry Blossom Festival does not begin until March 20, it's time to start thinking about it now. Whether you live in the DC-area or will be one of the million (yep) visitors at the festival, you'll be pleased to know that the website is vastly improved.

If you're so inclined, there is a photography contest ongoing. If you enter by March 11, the entry fee is discounted by 20%. Check here for details.


PS: The photograph is a detail from Zoohiko. Here are two more photographs from the cherry blossom shoot. Giulia is tapping her paw-pad for a chance copy this chic Japanese cat. We're seriously considering it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Little Elephants

Two sad words: orphan elephants. But there's something we can all do. First, become informed. Second, take action. Third, stay updated. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust runs the world's most successful elephant orphanage in Kenya's Nairobi National Park. Though the reason for the orphanage's existence is utterly depressing, it is an inspiring story nonetheless.

If you're child wrangling, National Geographic Kids' site has a nice African elephant section. And for good measure, here's an easy way to make elephant ear cookies.


(photograph by Michael Nichols via National Geographic. Read his notes on which elephant photograph means the most to him & why.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

French Cursive

Sacre bleu! No, no, silly. French handwriting. Visit Carol at Paris Breakfasts for her latest post on French handwriting & her (successful) efforts to incorporate it into her artwork. A fairly good search has not turned up a lot in the way of free online resources but here is one (you can translate it through Google). You can always buy a cahier d'écriture or some French ruled paper & practice.

Or maybe writing cursive is the least of your worries when it comes to French. Eh? Perhaps it is time to take a quick test & brush up.

ciao-bonjour-meow/GG's French teacher

(photograph via Writer's Bloc)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Have a Great Weekend

It's raining here but that's no excuse to be bored. Do something new or something you've not done in a while. Some fun links:

Amnesty International presents The Secret Policeman's Ball on Sunday. For the first time, it will be in NYC & guess what? You can watch the Radio City Music Hall show online. (The show begins at 7pm Eastern.)

To make this weekend: Pineapple Crisp (with ginger & lime). Bonus: low-sodium

The Red Balloon is streaming on Netflix Instant. How long has it been since you watched it? It's only 34 minutes.

How to draw elephants (for kids of all ages).

All the Downton Ladies (hilarious gifs)

Cute, fast, DIY mini salt & pepper shakers for picnics, your office.

Farewell, Davy Jones.


(photograph via IMDb)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Everyday Luxury - Daffodils

Yes, it's true. GG's editor is so lazy that she'll leap at two remotely connected ideas, find a photograph & there's a post. ;) Not really. It's St. David's Day & we're flower-less (except for one primrose, valiantly hanging in for over 5 weeks now). But for anywhere between $1-2.50 you can buy 10 stems of daffodils or jonquils. There are also plenty of daffodils/narcissi in pots for fairly low prices. This happy state of affairs lasts usually through May. Go for it!

ciao-cariad-meow/GG's Florist

PS: A true St. David's Day in southern Italy tale from Giulia's human servant

(photograph by Carrie)