Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tales from the Land of the Pyramids - Mt Sinai in Egypt

I've been very lazy about putting the rest of my albums
together from my Egypt and Jordan trip. I thought I would
share some tales from where my mum and I traveled from
Cairo to Mt. Sinai in September.

The snapshot above was taken from the mini van on the way to
Mt. Sinai. Quite a desolate area. During the time, there had been
some Europeans who had been kidnapped in Egypt and the Egyptian
government had decided all Americans and Brits needed tourism
police escorts. Mind you, the Europeans kidnapped were extremely
far from the normal tourist route near the Sudanese border. My mom
and I have never been on a tour where we've been outnumbered by our
escorts...We took a very small tour and it happened to be that we were
the only ones to continue to Jordan and Mt. Sinai was one of the stops
along the way.

I think a lot of people don't realize the lengths that the Egyptian
government tries to protect the tourism industry there as it is
most definitely their main source of revenue. It's tough when your
country is 95% desert and they only have enough oil for themselves -
not enough to export. I thought one of the most fascinating facts
about the Nile River is that it's the only river in the world to run from
the South to the North instead of the other way around. This is why
the South of Egypt is called Upper Egypt and the North of Egypt is called
Lower Egypt - it follows the direction of the Nile River rather than North
or South on a political map.

So there were we were, the two of us with a driver, a guide, and
a tourism police escort...

On the way, I asked the driver to stop when I saw this lovely
camel by the side of the road. We opened the van door and I
was able to catch a shot as he was heading away. Mind you,
this was before I actually got on a camel in Jordan which
scared the living daylights out my mom and I. A story for a
later post... Some things are better admired from afar or
through a lens or ridden in an open area...

When we reached our hotel in the middle of the mountains,
there was a nice bedouin tent set up by it.

Of course, complete with a souvenir shop.
I, for one, would never complain about

What really amused me was when I peaked inside the tent.
In the corner was a full computer and fan all wired up. You
would never be able to tell from the outside of the tent that
there was anything electronic, much less a computer with a
connection to the internet inside. This is what I call, modern
Bedouin living.

At night, the place transformed into
a wonderful place for a party.

Isn't the inside cool?

We had tea to boot.

Here's my mom outside with our very
nice guide in front of the fire.

But the party was definitely inside the tent and let me tell
you, if you ever travel - it's the Brazilians who are always
the life of the party.

They even got all dressed up to party.

After the exciting night, we turned in and made it
to a monastery called St. Catherines in the middle
of the mountains.

Of course I couldn't stop taking photos of the camels...

But I did find this man to be very clever. He was building a stone
structure and they obviously don't have stone or tile cutters there.

So he improvised by dribbling water onto the stone
as he was cutting so it wouldn't crack as he drilled.

And this is where the famed burning bush that
Moses spoke to - within St. Catherine's monastery.
You see everyone trying to touch it there.

Anyhow, the New Year is upon us and I hope
this has inspired some of you to travel or have
and adventure this coming year!

Happy New Year and be safe!

I will be returning next monday on January 5, 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tori Mellot's Fantastic Home & Eclectic Style

Domino Magazine's Decor Editor Tori Mellot has
a wonderful sense of tasteful yet eclectic style
that I really love. This post showcases two of her
flats in New York City that she has lived in and put
her personal stamp on. The above photo is where
she currently resides. I absolutely love the striped
patterns he has painted onto her walls.

Here's a better look at her living area.

She really knows how to make a small space look fabulous.

Gee, I think I could really rival her when it
comes to book collections. What a fabulous
way to display it.

She really took the wall of frames concept
to a whole new level in her bedroom.

Her desk is so beautiful and classy.

Wow! Talk about drama. I love the purple
color and the black accents against the rococo
white walls.

Black and white always come
together for dramatic walls.

The stripes are carried into the
bedroom on a smaller scale.

This is Tori's lovely living area in her previous
flat. I am totally lusting after that lilac daybed!

Her office area is absolutely great! Who wouldn't
love an office like this? Functional and beautiful.

Domino came out with a book this year called
think is absolutely phenomenal. It's a "must have"
and is full of different ideas and designs. Something
for everyone.

I just wanted to share with you a
sample of what's inside the book.

Honestly, it has great ideas and rooms on every page.

The great thing is that the book contains a bonus
inside the book for a free subscription to Domino
magazine. If you already have one, they will send
you a refund if you send in the postcard with your

All photos from Domino Magazine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008 !

I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

I just realized we haven't had a nice family photo for a
while. This is the last one that was taken of my family
and relatives on reunion cruise. My parents and my
very tall brother Steve (whom everyone thinks is older
but I actually am - just because I'm a little person...)
I will post an updated photo with family and Paul
after the holidays.

As a book fiend and lover of inspirational and interesting
books - there are 3 books that look very good that I want to
introduce. I actually asked for an Amazon gift certificate for
books for my Christmas present from Paul.

This is a really interesting book about how creative minds are
really changing everything. In the last century, scientists and
left brainers were very much respected. This book gives a whole
new take on the creative mind.

This book isn't out until the first week of January but I've already
pre-ordered it. It seems to be a really great inspirational book for
those who are still trying to find what their passions and strengths
are in their lives to make something out of it.

I don't know about you, but every year, I still write my
New Year's Resolutions (because I'm a chronic list maker.)
Psychologically, it makes me feel more organized - although
I don't think I'm the most organized person. I don't know if
I achieve all of them but I'm able to accomplish enough to
cross off the majority of the resolutions. There are always
those that transfer to the following year.

I think this is a wonderful book to read around the New Year
and to think about what you really hope for and you would love
to make happen.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I'll be back next
Monday so that I can spend the long weekend with family.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Black, White and Gray ~ High Drama

Black and White has always been an infallible
design and color combination. It's always made
for high drama when juxtaposed together.

This entrance is so cool with the jet black walls,
white stair railings and shiny black flooring.
Talk about dramatic and making an entrance!

Not the entire house is purely black and white
although the same kind of drama does flow through
house. The ornate wardrobe really makes the drama
in this room.

Black and white in this room is used for the accents rather
than the main colors. Shades of gray and white are used

Shelves in the black and white living room.

I love the pop of color from the art piece in
the dining room.

The office adds in dark chocolate brown
for the floors. Never quite seen chocolate
used with gray. It's an interesting combination.

The cowhide covered chair really makes
a statement in the living space.

Hello Shaggy rug :) Looks really soft.
The writing on the walls are a lot of fun.

The unexpedted chandelier is a brilliant stroke in this
very modern black and white kitchen.

A peek into the backyard that has a lovely
dining space for outdoor dinners and living.

Hope this post has provided more inspiration
for all of you black and white lovers out there.

For more black and white inspiration, check out
these past posts of mine:

A Modern Goth Design Hotel in NYC ~ The Night Hotel

A Study in Black and White ~ One Designer's Home

All photos from House & Garden Australia.