Archive for June, 2009

Wanderlust – noun, a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.



It’s official… I’ve come down with a bad case of wanderlust… I realized recently that it’s been over a year since my last trip out of the country. The picture above is from that trip last year to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. 


I’ve been to plenty of fun cities stateside since then (Chicago, San Francisco, NYC, and Atlanta), and I have plans to travel domestically over the next couple of months.  But, it is just not the same as seeing a completely new place and experiencing a different culture. I’m always ready to pick up and see a new place. At any moment.


So until I can embark on my next trip, Armchair Travel will have to suffice!  Here are some of the fun travel-related things I’ve found recently:


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Lately I have been a big consumer of food content – not so much food itself as writing online and offline about food (thankfully for my waistline!), including a dip into the world of online food blogging.  Over the last few months: I’ve seen Food, Inc.as a part of Dallas’ AFI Film Festival, and I’ve read a number of books on the subject including Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver and In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.  To say that this endeavor has changed by perspective on the value of food and the business of food production (and what I will actually put in my mouth), would be a serious understatement.  However, nothing has shifted my overall perspective more than the book I just finished reading last night: The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, by David A. Kessler, MD.  


The End of Overeating caught by attention in the traditional way – at the front table in a Borders book store.  I immediately knew that I wanted to read it, and it did not disappoint.  It’s somewhat heavy on science in the early chapters as Kessler lays the ground work for his conclusion that some foods are hyperpalatable, that they are reinforcing (a.k.a. addictive), that they override the natural physical responses exhibited when one eats traditional foods, that they make you want to eat more and more, and what we can and should do about it.  I found it compelling and read it in only a few short days. That Kessler is a former FDA commissioner, a doctor, and himself a professed overeater adds creditability to his conclusions and compassion to his handling of an emotional subject.  I believe it’s a paradigm changing book, and I highly recommend it to anyone.  Thank you, Dr. Kessler!


Read what others are saying: NY Post, WSJ, Boing Boing, and the Huffington Post.

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Summer Garden

Here’s some pictures I took over the weekend of my backyard…  All the work put in last spring, is definitely starting to pay off!

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Where oh where did my morning go?  I had grand plans of getting up early and getting some writing done.  I have plenty of great things to write about.  I’ve been busy even though I haven’t been writing about it, but this morning I woke up with an impending sense of disorganization and a feeling that my day was spiraling out of control already… 


Cape Cod Hydrangeas: Is this too much to ask for??

Cape Cod Hydrangeas: Is this too much to ask for??

I’ve been feeling this way for the last couple of days actually. Maybe it has to do with all the unexpected things that have already come up at work this week or the fact that I know the rest of the week is going to fly by since I’m booked up with meetings and projects from this morning through close of business on Friday.  I don’t know exactly what it is, and I haven’t completely shaken this feeling yet.  Normally, I’m much better at rolling with the punches than this!


When I feel this way, I tend to exert control over the things I can control – my immediate surroundings.  It almost always makes me feel better!  Since my house had gotten a little messy too, I started by making sure things were in their places.  I made the bed.  I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.  I put in a load of laundry.  I had my morning coffee. I checked on the sad hydrangea that I planted on Sunday afternoon and watered it – again.  I sent an email to my father (the family plant expert) asking for “Help!” to save said hydrangea and consulted Google to no avail. Yet. I picked up and organized the piles of paper I accumulate.  And, I marveled at my newly organized pantry with new spice jars (above), a recent weekend project that’s almost complete!  If anything can make me feel grounded and centered it’s organization!  I’m feeling much better now and ready to conquer the day!   

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Yesterday, the Dallas Museum of Arthosted famed pop-up book creator Robert Sabuda at the Arts & Letters Livelecture series.  While in north Texas, Sabuda also visited the National Center for Childrens’ Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene, Texas where he opened an exhibition called Wizards of Pop-Up: Sabuda and Reinhartwhich runs through 9/19/09. He spoke for approximately 45 minutes about his creative process and the manufacturing process used to mass-produce his creations.    He also hosted a pre-event demonstration where he walked participants through a few of the techniques he uses to create pop-ups.


His passion for bringing stories to life in three dimensions and in paper was obvious and infectious.  Not surprisingly, he was a great speaker and storyteller! 


  • Prototype Creation: I was surprised to hear that Sabuda uses only very simple tools – scissors and simple white bookbinders’ glue.  He creates an initial, simple draft all in white and begins refining it from there evaluating the mechanics and the design of the pop-up entirely devoid of color, detail, and illustration. Although I was familiar with Sabuda’s work, I was surprised to find out also that he illustrates all of the pictures in each book himself often using relief printing (without a press).  He mentioned that he has recently begun to digitize this process somewhat and that typically color is added to the design digitally using Photoshop. 
  • Manufacturing: Sabuda also spoke about the manufacturing process used to mass-produce his pop-up books.  Previously produced in South America, now his books are painstakingly created by hand in Asia – Thailand and China – in factories that only produce popup books.  He had high praise for the men and women he works with in bringing his books to life calling them artists who often go “above and beyond” to help make his books better and the construction stronger.  I was amazed to hear that they often create 25,000 pop-up books in one week, which is sometimes not enough to keep up with demand!   


After hearing Sabuda speak and seeing a video of the extremely manual manufacturing process, it was shocking to find out that his books were selling for ONLY $27.99.  It’s easy to appreciate the artistry in what he creates. His designs truly leap off the page and bring the story to life.  It was also inspiring to catch a glimpse into the workings of his unique, creative mind.


For more information about Sabuda or to download instructions on creating your own pop-ups, check out his website and his Amazon.com author’s page for a list of his books. Cross posted at Paper & Chocolate.

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My travels have centered mainly in Europe and the United States – i.e. parts of the world where these tips are NOT particularly important – but somehow I feel like a tougher traveler already after reading them.  I agree wholeheartedly with Kristof ‘s statement that much can and should be learned via travel (and outside of the classroom)! 

Check out his article called Cum Laude in Evading Bandits, where he outlines some very practical travel tips that most newcomers would probably have to learn the hard way!  It also provides some interesting insight  into what the life of a foreign correspondent must be like…

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