Wedding Shopping in NYC

Who can beat shopping in NYC. I mean, women and men from all around the world go there to get bargains and a great selection of designers at your feet. Wedding shopping is not different. You just have to google wedding shops in NYC and a choice of many pops up. This is some of the selection I got in my last google search.

 

This is a typical card you get with info on the back of what you are getting. Hide it and take it around with you so that you can compare quality and price from other places. The diamond district in NYC specializes in jewellery for weddings but be careful because the price they give you when you walk in could mean half of that when you negotiate. If you pick a diamond around the F grade (better) or G grade, it is a better diamond. The different types of clairty determines if the diamond is clear or more yellowy looking. Can’t beat NYC Prices. Rings that are valued at $6000 are on sale for a weekend for a third of the price. 

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Make sure you have your subway map with you so you know where you are going. 
When you have enough shopping, choose a friend and go and get a drink. If you are in times square, go to Dallas BBQ for a cocktail only. Unless you like fried food, then order food, but if you want to keep slim for your wedding, I suggest just drink a cocktail.

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When you taste these cocktails, You may even get excited like Kelly did. Love my friends.

 

 

Old Terrebonne, Quebec CANADA

I love this place. I highly recommend you visit this gorgeous little town when you are heading to the province of Quebec. There is a beautiful river flowing off a reservoir and a great park beside it filled with trees, squirrels, outdoor tables and a children play park. It has a track to run on beside it. Dogs are not allowed so it is one of those ventures you can only do with your two legged friends. The pictures say it all really. When you have finished walking and taking in the beautiful natural environment, there are a variety of restaurants to choose from to dine in. It’s wonderful for a day trip.

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Aquabus Transport Vancouver CANADA

The Aquabus in Vancouver is so cool that it needed it’s own personal blog. The colours around it reminds me of the Sydney Mardi Gra and probably should be a float with dancing gay boys inside cheering about their lifestyle.

It is equivalent to a Sydney Water Taxi although the difference being that you really need to use this if you are in the city and wish to go to Granville Island or get to anywhere else you need to go. It is quick and easy and the staff were always smiling and friendly. It probably helps that the weather is generally warmer in this end of Canada although it does rain most of the time. The little aquabuses have a plastic shield around them so if it is raining, you are protected but still get to see out at the city view. From memory, it was a few dollars to use the transport.

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Edgar Muenala Musician Canada

I was recently in Vancouver and went to Granville Island. Lucky I ventured there because for five minutes, I sat there listening to this beautiful talented musician called Edgar Muenala. Here is his direct link to You tube to listen to his music. He does covers and performs them using multiple wind instruments to get an amazing sound. It is a shame I cannot post the footage I took of him playing because it is 1gb in size and I would need his permission, however I took a few snaps of him in action and i am sure you can see how beautiful and peaceful these pan flutes sound.

 

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I captured his performance really well and if you are reading this Edgar, please feel free to get in touch, because I am confident you will love what I captured.

 

Damn Cool Graffiti Montreal CANADA

Since being in Canada and venturing around the place, I have noticed that in the short time I have been in Montreal specifically, the city is a hub for graffiti. I mean most cities have graffiti but it is like this place has a place for it that adds to the beauty of the city. The artwork is really damn cool and I can’t help but wander if some of the actual work is paid for by the government of funding bodies that support street art.

There is no way that these artworks can be done by someone quickly spraying the wall secretly. Some of the images are full wall size artworks. In fact, some of the art covers entire buildings. It is fascinating so for all those graffiti lovers out there, I highly recommend you travel to Montreal and take a drive around all the streets.

I was previously using an office space to write from called Station C in Midland, Montreal and there is a really cool old train docked nearby on the tracks. The whole train is covered in it and so is the surrounding area. As a photographer and film maker, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the area creatively.

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Arts Theatre Montreal CANADA

Every city has an arts centre. The main one I’ve been too in Montreal recently has two theatres inside and a few little shops. It has a room set aside for digital media artworks which is cool to walk through. I’ve taken some pics below.

What i really loved, was walking through the middle section along the ramp. On the side wall there are digital displays constantly moving and changing. It is a clever idea because you can stand there and watch the changes every few minutes and you get to see different artists work constantly. I guess that is the beauty of digital art and media.

Below is the entrance table indicating the theatre directions.

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This was very clever. Through the glass wall, you could see images of people working and living in their different rooms. It is as if you are walking along and watching people in their homes. I loved it. The actual environment is quite dark so it is a little hard to see the photos however, here is one below of a man that reads alot and seems to be a writer.

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As you walk into the centre, you can pick up some flyers to see the different productions that are on.

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This is the room where you can sit and watch the digital interactive media works.

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This is the same digital wall. This particular one had all sorts of facial expressions designed and separate light spots that kept changing colour. It was cool. 

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This was a sculpture that doubled as a light. 


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St Basilicas Church Montreal CANADA

I love going into churches and lighting candles. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember being able to do it. It is like my own private time away from the hustle and bustle, and a way to just think. The actual part of lighting the candle, always makes me feel like i have just connected with a higher power or my angel spirit guides so to take the time in my day or week to just do this, is significant moving forward. It is also a great time to reflect on life and to just be grateful for all the things I have in life. I don’t really care which church it is, Catholic or Orthodox because the point of it, is not to support a particular religious denomination, but for me, rather a way to have a place to go where I can feel connected.

It was important when I came to Quebec in Canada, to find a place that I felt connected. I am still searching for places but lucky for me, Veronique introduced me to St Basilicas.  The church itself is a Catholic based church and it is apparently one of the most beautifulest ones in the world arena of churches. Considering I have had the pleasure of enjoying the St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, St Peters Cathedral in Rome, as well as Rome itself, and the various Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney, Wollongong, Mangrove Mountain and the wonderful greek churches on the Greek Islands in Greece, I think I am in a position to comment on the validity of this churches ranking compared to the others. I loved it inside. I loved the displays and angel sculptures that were handcrafted. The blue in the window stain was bright and stood out. The detail was intricate and beautiful. It was grand. It felt like there had been so much effort put into each icon hand made and the ceilings and stained windows. The pictures will be the easiest to show.

My biggest concern and the part that made me feel for a moment disconnected from the actual church was the fact that you had to pay $5 per person to just look inside the church. I am someone who is honest and always donates inside. In fact, I light the candles too and always pay money for this honour. To be forced to pay a fee to enter turned it into a business experience rather than a spiritual connection to be invited inside and welcomed off the street in prayer alone. I felt deeply conflicted with this and was extremely bothered by it. I questioned the staff, to which they replied, they had to pay people to maintain the church and also have it open to the public etc etc. I understand this but so does every other church and they don’t all charge entry fees. We are not going to a theme park for goodness sake. Due to the entry fee, when you enter the church, people are really more interested in taking photos and getting their moneys worth rather than just going in there and being humble and quiet and connecting.

This is the church below. If you are in Montreal, I recommend to go and see it but make sure you have your entry fee.

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Stanley Park, Vancouver CANADA

This is such a beautiful park in Vancouver. I think the park takes up half of the city space it is that big. There is a walking and cycling track that goes all the way around the waters edge of the park and then other tracks going inside various parts of the park. There is a restaurant and big water pool inside it, plus a harbour with boats docked around it and the other ends has views of the famous lions gate bridge.

There are great mountain views around the city of Vancouver and when you walk around the park, you really get to see the great views in the distance. There are some industrial areas that you can see in the distance and tourist site seeing planes are commonly flying over head taking in the views of the city.

You can hire a bike from the bike shops directly across from the park on the city side. It was about $13 to hire for an hour. The bikes are comfortable and you can get a basket for any bags you may have.

It is certainly worth spending the day there (if it’s not raining that is). Walk through it, cycle around it. Eat at the restaurant and just simply enjoy the harbour views, the trees and flowers in bloom. I took photos around the whole park as I rode around it so you will see the shots i took. It wasn’t raining at the time but it was overcast and at times drizzling so you can never be too sure what the weather will do.

 

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Granville Island, Vancouver CANADA

Granville Island is located in North Vancouver. It is really cool and a photographers dream place. Make sure you have an appetite before you go. If you are in the city, you basically need to catch a water taxi called an Aquabus to get there from downtown Vancouver. In fact, if you go and eat breakfast at the restaurant Provence on Marina side, then you can literally walk straight across the road and at the end of the pier is the stop for the Aquabus to Granville Island.

Once you get to the island, you can walk around it and through the different sections. The place has a very industrial feel initially, but when you walk around and see the island, it is also very picturesque like the rest of Vancouver. I loved it. The fresh fruit in the farmers market was soooooo good. It looked so ripe and tasted so good.

You can actually live on the island and enter the shop area from a bridge on the other side of the wharf. I loved the entrance bridge to Granville Island from the other end of Vancouver.

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There were some really cool artists and musicians performing around the island that you could stop and listen too. A stand out for me was Edgar Maenala. I bought his album because it was so beautiful. he plays these windpipe instruments and plays mostly known songs with them. It was so relaxing.

We walked along a side road that had a cool mirror we photographed and there were sculptures around the place also.

 

As we walked around the water side, there were great city views and bridge views of the mountains in the background.

 

 

Downtown Vancouver, CANADA

Downtown Vancouver. It was certainly an experience. I generally love visiting all areas of a city. In Vancouver, Downtown consists of the lower end of the city, China town and other surrounding areas like East Hastings, Eastside Down town Vancouver.

Starting with the homeless problem. There are approx 2,700 homeless people in Vancouver that associate with either being Relative, or absolute homeless. The main cause of the rapid increase of homelessness was due to the housing market price increase and also lack of income. Talking with some locals however, I was informed that the homeless issue has increased since the year 2000. Apparently in trying to clean up some other Canadian areas, the government issued a whole stack of homeless people a one way ticket to Vancouver so that they could survive in the outside areas in a warmer environment. The west side of Canada is a lot warmer than the rest of Canada that basically freezes in Winter.

The whole homeless population has overtaken eastside downtown, specifically on East Hastings Street. I accidentally ended up on the corner innocently taking photos of what I thought was interesting human interaction shots, and groups of people lingering around an area. The next minute I am approached by some obvious mentally challenged people that were eager to volunteer to get their photo taken. I start to look around and notice hundreds of people looking at me wandering what the hell I was doing with a camera on their street. I quickly put my camera away however this did not mean their eyes stopped following my every move. I slowly played the tourist card, looking around, and looking at the fastest way to get the hell out of there before getting rolled. As I start to walk away, a man approached me asking me to hold on. Taking a deep breath, heart racing, I innocently turn and smile, welcoming his approach. He asked what I was doing and at that moment, I am glad i had a strong Aussie accent to which I replied “I’m just a tourist mate, taking photos. I can see that the people here don’t like that much right?”

Thank God he smirked and kindly informed me that most of the people on the street were alcoholics and took drugs and they wanted to make sure I wasn’t a cop, or snitch trying to catch them out. I told him I was an Aussie and he basically wished me a good trip and ‘Hasta La Vista’, I was out of there.

Curiosity killed the cat Right?? So at this stage, I wanted to now check it out more, without my camera in their face this time, so I stopped and got dumplings in the local Chinese shop called Jade Dynasty which was recommended and they were really good. Some quick pics of the shop and the shrimp dumplings I had.


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After that, I walked to the other end of the street and decided to walk along it and get amongst the homeless on the street. I stood out like a sore thumb, however I figured if I just walked quickly and just took in everything i could see and feel, that would give me a good feeling of what people were there.

The fact that these people stick together in big groups and hang out together is a good thing for themselves and company, however, most of the people I saw, were mentally ill or clearly doing drug deals, or more so, trying to ask for money to get their next hit. The concerning part was seeing a a few teenage faces in the crowd. It is sad to know how most of society can sleep peacefully at night with a roof over their head, but these people just stay continuously on the street. Even if the mentally ill people were put into housing, they would stand out and it would be a matter of time before the police were could to settle them down etc. It is always a hard solution dealing with mental illness as well as homeless and drugs etc. The crime rate in this area is also a big concern and it was only a matter of time before I saw cop cars speeding into the area.

Below are some pics of the street adjacent to East Hastings. There is a mural of some great artwork and directly opposite, some locals hanging in the laneways.

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After getting the buzz of experiencing the homeless situation, I wanted to check out China Town a little more and went to the Chinese Botanical Gardens. They were small compared to what we have set up in Sydney but the small amount of garden they do have was pretty. The guy let me in for $5 because I only had half an hour to go. That was more than enough time to see the whole thing and capture it on camera. I love how detailed the Chinese are when they build things. It makes me realize how traditional and passionate they are as a race. What was really cool about the gardens is when you walk to the back end, there is a calligraphy section where they have drawing ink set up and these special drawing boards with symbols displayed. You can take a seat and try and draw the symbol you see with various symbols varying in degree of difficulty. I loved trying this because I had never done it before. It wasn’t long before I realized how precise the Chinese are when writing. Each stroke takes a certain amount of ink, pressure and precision to create the symbol beautifully. I attempted but I think I turned Chinese symbols into a two year old garbage diagram of what they think it should look like. Terrible. I am sure I would improve in time, but really, I sucked at it.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

I really wanted to see as much as I could in Vancouver so I decided to take the advice of the locals and check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I took a bus as that was the easiest way to get there from the Four Seasons Hotel. It was actually really good for checking out Vancouver from a higher seat in a bus.

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The bus ride takes about 20 minutes and it leaves every half hour to hour, depending on which season it is and what time you wish to get there and leave. The park is opened between 9am and 7pm. The whole park was bought by a lady called Nancy Stibbard. The actual address is 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver, BC V7R, Phone number +1 604 985 7474. Vancouver is part of Brittish Columbia.

I was on my own and most people on the bus kept to themselves with their own company. I was happy to look out the window. I couldn’t help but think how similar Vancouver was to Sydney. It had a similar feel in terms of the harbour, boats docked, the big Stanley Park, the bus rides around, the city buildings, different sections like China town etc. Although, I believe there is a china town in every city. Without being biased, I still find Sydney is on my top list of cities because of the weather factor. It rains alot in Vancouver.

Back to the bridge. It is special because it is so close to the city, however it is this pristine natural habitat park that they have literally built a bridge to join one side to the other. Looking at how long the bridge is, and how high it is suspended above a flowing rapid fall, I was gob smacked about how on earth they built it without damaging the nature around it. It apparently started back in 1988 when George Grant Mackay, a Scottish Engineer bought 6,000 acres of land and they used horses to take hemp ropes across the river so they could build a little cabin on the other side and use a small footbridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks to get across. When you start to walk along the bridge, you need to just walk steadily across and not move side to side or else you rock the bridge and others walking tend to find it hard to walk when it’s rocking. I love to push the boundaries so of course, I secretly tried to see what I could get away with rocking. The next minute I hear through this speaker mid way on the bridge “Rocking the bridge is forbidden”. Oops, I pretend of course, it isn’t me, and then look ahead to see a bridge officer at the end watching over the bridge. It is fun to experience. When you get to the other side, they have some information signs posted up about the animals in the area etc. There are more wooden bridges set up to allow you to walk around and also experience what it is like looking over the top of the treetops. The energy at the place is really beautiful and a nice day out. Keeping in mind that it mostly rains in Vancouver, they give you rain ponchos that are bright yellow, in case you get stuck in the rain. If you go to the three main attractions at the site, you get to see the bridge from another angle by walking along other bridges that give you a different look of the nature reserve. It is really peaceful. I had my Mark III and enjoyed taking photos and filming.

There is a cafe just past the entrance where you can have some lunch and coffee and just take your time. If you are by yourself and are on a mission, you can do the whole thing in 2 hours with great photos etc. There is a tourist shop next to the cafe and it stocks lots of Maple Syrup products (Which Canada is known for their Maple Syrup). It also has T-shirts, jumpers etc with ‘Vancouver’ and ‘Suspension Bridge’ on it. They actually allow you to order their products if you email retail@capbridge.com

I couldn’t help myself and checked out the Fudge section in the shop and aren’t I glad I did. I ordered the dark chocolate and caramel fudge combined with sea salt on top. It would have to be the best fudge I have eaten in my life. It was amazing. In fact, after writing this blog, I am about to ring them and see if they deliver the actual fudge interstate to Montreal. I can’t stop thinking about how good it was. I really regret only buying one piece. I broke it up into small pieces so the taste would last and I could remember how good it was.

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When you finish the tour and bridge walk, you go out through the entrance and if you managed to participate on the ‘Collect the stamps’ game they run, you hand it in, and get a certificate for making it over the bridge. The game is really set up for kids, to make sure they reach each point they need to locate and get their form stamped to verify they have been to that location. I secretly think adults have more fun doing this and it’s funny to see how committed adults are to making sure their kids get the stamps. I got a certificate too. Not because i participated in the stamp game, but because I played dumb saying I didn’t see the actual form and I really wanted a certificate because I crossed the bridge hahhaa. He gave me one with a smile. Here it is below.

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Below are all the photos I took of the trip at the actual park and some of the displays they have presented on site.

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Next time you are in Vancouver, check out the bridge, save some money for the actual fudge experience of the dark chocolate and caramel one specifically and order a whole heap of it. Enjoy!!!!

On the way back down, nicely ask the bus driver to drop you off at Stanley Park and hire a bike and ride around the park. It is a must see, very beautiful. The bus drivers are not meant to drop you off, but if you are nice enough, they may just throw you out hahaha.

 

 

Old Montreal Canada

I love this town. I cannot wait until Summer until I can go down here and be amongst the beauty and atmosphere in this great part of the city of Montreal, Canada. It is bloody cool.

It reminds me of Spain, Italy (Rome) and a touch of London architecture. It certainly has a european feel and considering most of the signs are in French, let’s throw Paris into the equation, except I haven’t been there, so I can only imagine.

Anyway, I want to share these photos with you of Old Montreal because I love it. The waterside is really nice and you can just stroll or roller blade along it, taking in the old train track and the boats docked in the harbour. There is a science exhibition right on the water too and apparently in summer it’s full of people.

I’m excited as summer is approaching.

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Martin Beau Pre Artist Montreal

I love great artists and this one is brilliant. Martin Beau Pre. I really don’t think the photos do him justice. He is so talented. He travels alot but his artwork for now is on Display in Old Montreal. A place I love dearly because it is so cool. Back to the artist. I want to buy one of his paintings because they are awesome. They are asian inspired and he uses real Swarovski crystals to create the sparkle you see on some of the mountains. He uses this particular type of plaster with his work and if you turn the lights down low, the paintings light up in some spots so the mood it creates in the room is sublime.

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Just Thai – Canada

Just Thai is great. Service is wonderful, the atmosphere in the little one we go to in Terrabonne is so cute and intimate, its fantastic for dinner.

I order number 95 which is aubergines with a few vegetables but i get them to put peking duck in it also and it tastes sensational. I love it. You need some plain rice to be able to soak up a little of the sauce on it but it’s not much sauce. Probably oil from frying the aubergines/eggplants. The tom yum soup is also amazing. I try and get it mild but its apparently best with full spice.

I thought id share this because the idea of good food is always nice to share.

IMG_0623 My aubergine and duck dish with zuchinni too. YummmmIMG_0624 The margarita was amazing…IMG_0625 These noodles look hard but they soften with the sauce. What a cool idea and it was my friends dish and it tasted great. IMG_0626 IMG_0627

Bin System Mascouche

I’ve been living in Mascouche since arriving in Canada. It is definitely an outer suburb North of the City of Montreal. It used to be an industrial area and now they are re zoning it all as residential. There is a lot of construction and there is a train station that is currently being completed with the hope of it opening in January 2014. The area is growing but if you are unfortunate enough to live here at the moment, you need to make noise your best friend and the site of trucks and tractors, a daily viewing. Because the suburb is so new, it hasn’t got a personality yet so everything is new and limited. It is getting there though.

I am impressed though by the bin system I have been using at the condos. It is pretty cool. They basically place four dome like structures in between the unit blocks to share with the residents. these bins are split, two for recycling and two for general rubbish. Every week the truck comes and pulls off the lid of the dome and lifts the huge industrial brown bag out, emptying it in the truck and then placing it back inside the dome. I think its a great system and makes everything look so clean.

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Funny Garages Canada

When I arrived in Canada, I found some things strange because I wasn’t used to seeing things the way they were set up. They basically have driveways and they put like a white marquee up as a garage where they place the cars.

I assume it is an easy set up to protect them from the snow in Winter. I took a few photos of it to show you. 7R1A2822 7R1A2823 7R1A2824 The other thing I found interesting was the fact that they have rows and rows of houses or condos (apartments) that look the same because one builder comes along and builds a series of homes exactly the same so that the area keeps to a particular style of housing. It reminds me of lego land when i drive around with everything looking the same. Heres an example below. It’s a whole street of houses that look identical.

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Cactus Club Cafe Vancouver

Cactus Club is the ‘latest trend’ in Vancouver. This particular cafe only opened in the past 12 months and it is a huge venue that gets ridiculously packed out at lunchtime. I went there at 1130am and was seated. By 1230pm, the cafe was full with a line up of people waiting to be seated. There are a few Cactus Club Cafes that are now opened but this one in the heart of the city, and in walking distance from the Four Seasons Hotel was a great choice.

The waitresses are really quirky and they remind me of the waitresses in the 70s in the old fonz days. Their hairstyles were lifted and curved like beehives and in skirts and heels flirting with the male customers. This is what this cafe is like so when I look around at the mostly male filled room, I completely understand the market they are targeting. High ceilings, trendy furniture, opened windows all around with views of the high rise buildings.

The lady recommended I try the rocket and goats cheese salad and it was delicious. Wasn’t totally keen on the coffee they served but the rest was great. I took a few photos of the atmosphere and some snaps of the waitresses inside. The chef is the first iron chef in Canada, Rob Feenie and they rave about his food. I enjoyed what I ate but I’d need to try a lot more dishes to rate the overall quality.

I loved the lights as they looked like pumpkins hanging from the ceiling. 7R1A1777 7R1A1780 7R1A1781 7R1A1788 7R1A1793 IMG_0320 Directions to walk from the Four Seasons HotelIMG_0321 The rocket and goats cheese salad with chicken. IMG_0325 IMG_0326 IMG_0327

 

Yew Restaurant Vancouver

The Yew Restaurant is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel at 791 W Georgia St, Vancouver. It is a nice restaurant. The atmosphere is really cosy, even the the place is a decent size. It is in an L shape so you get a choice to sit in an intimate dining section with low light and candles, or you can choose to sit on the lounges with low tables, or even at the long bar. They are known for their quality seafood and their cocktails. I tried their popular pear martini. It was nice but you need to be a lover of pear to enjoy it.

The manager and staff were really lovely. The manager came over and spoke with me and the waitress, being another fellow Australian, was really friendly and sociable. The waiter that served me was really knowledgable about the specials, and the cocktails and his recommendations for the food were great. I was impressed with the overall dining experience. I would eat there again. I had this amazing dish as an appetizer made like a taco but it was using crab meat and the shell was made in a mould to form it. Tasted divine.

IMG_0561 The MenuIMG_0562 IMG_0563 IMG_0564 IMG_0565 IMG_0566 IMG_0567 The popular Pear MartiniIMG_0568 This was a shell made of crab. This dish was amazing. IMG_0571 The market fish of the day is always a good choice. The fish was Halibut. It was well cooked and the vegetables were perfectly cooked. IMG_0572 IMG_0573 IMG_0574 People can sit and order at the bar.IMG_0575 IMG_0576 The manager and front staff. Very friendly. IMG_0577

Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

The Four Seasons hotel is located on 791 W Georgia St, Vancouver. Phone Number is +2 604 689 9333. I would recommend this place if you want something central in the city. Somewhere close to the big mall that is located underneath and beside the hotel. The train station is right underneath and it has a popular restaurant ‘Yew’ that has great food, cocktails and atmosphere. The concierge desk is fabulous and the ladies there are really helpful with recommendations about what and where to go. I didn’t like the room I had initially but when I requested to change, it was easy and effortless so I liked the fact they were willing to make my stay as enjoyable as possible. The room itself was very clean and a great size. King size bed, views of the city. I could see the buildings and the stadium from my room and that was better than looking straight out at another building so I was happy.

The bell men were great too, opening my door and supplying me with umbrellas every time I needed it because it does rain most of the time in Vancouver. Lucky for me, it was mostly overcast and I got to experience everything I could in Vancouver in four days. It really helped staying at this hotel, because to get to where I needed was very easy.

In fact, I wanted to go to the Capilano Suspension bridge and lucky for me, the free shuttle stop was in walking distance from the hotel.

My favourite part of the hotel was the gym and pool area. It has a pool that is half indoor and half outdoor. It is heated nicely and has a jacuzzi right next to it. The gym always had people in there working out with various aged people. They provide tea/coffee for guests and fresh fruit in the area so if you wake up and don’t want breakfast, you can walk to the gym level four and get yourself some complimentary tea and fruit and enjoy. This suited me completely. It was a little surreal to be swimming outdoors with high rise buildings around me in a heated pool. It was a great experience overall.

Getting a taxi was simple and never had to wait long. The bellmen organized the taxi the moment you step out of the hotel. They had l’occitane bathroom products available to use in the rooms and I found these products good quality. Here are some photos below of the room and around the hotel.

The Pool areaIMG_0316 Tea and fruit served in the gym and pool areaIMG_0317 IMG_0318 IMG_0319 IMG_0414 IMG_0415 Inside Yew RestaurantIMG_0416 IMG_0417 Inside Reception areaIMG_0418 IMG_0419 The elevatorIMG_0422 IMG_0423 IMG_0424 IMG_0425 The RoomIMG_0578 IMG_0579 The view from the room. i had the top floor, level 28.IMG_0580 IMG_0581 IMG_0582 IMG_0583 IMG_0584 IMG_0585 IMG_0586 IMG_0587 IMG_0588 IMG_0589 IMG_0590 IMG_0591 IMG_0593 IMG_0595 IMG_0596 IMG_0597 IMG_0598 IMG_0600

Canadian International Film Festival Vancouver

Between April 4th – 8th, 2013 I went to Vancouver to attend the Canadian International Film Festival. My film ‘Bloody Henry‘ which I wrote, produced and directed was selected as the Official Selection at the festival. I find festivals a great way to network so when my films get selected at them, I try to attend most of them. It is quite an expensive thing to do but it pays off in the end because the people you meet along the way are interesting and talented. I enjoy watching the films and supporting the artists and it also feels great being able to watch my own films on the big screen with an interested audience.

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Lucky for me, I managed to win an award for “Best First Time Director”. I was stoked about this award because it was on of my first films I directed, as well as Juliana’s Story. It has motivated and encouraged me to keep doing what I love and keep making films that I love to make as I know audiences appreciate my work. I only hope to keep improving my work and making bigger and better films for audiences to enjoy.

CIFF Director I met some great people at the festival such as Venetia Evripiotou who directed Counting Happiness. A great film, made in India about a boy who lives on the streets in India and sells toy chickens. Counting Happiness took out the major prize award at the festival and well deserved. Here is a picture below of Me, Venetia (Greece) and our greek friend on the night Ellenor Argyropoulos (Australia) who also won a student royal reel award for her short film Life through a lens.

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There was a man at the festival called K.Bhavani Shanker. I recognized his face but couldn’t quite work out from where. I was told by his photographers that he was a popular actor in India, having acted in over 220 films. I laughed because the Indians are funny. His photographer kept taking a million photos of him sitting down in the same position whilst the award ceremony was going on and I couldn’t understand why he would be taking a million photos of him. It’s not as if he was going to capture a different angle. It was crazy and I found it amusing. He was at the festival because of a short film he was in called ‘Dream’. It won a Royal Reel Award but wasn’t screened. There was a huge Bollywood Award Ceremony going on the same night next door at the stadium and 6,000 Indian people were in attendance. Hence why he attended the festival as he was in Vancouver for both events. That is him on the left below.

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I also me the Japanese guy that was in the movie Kenny. His name is Morihiko Hasebe. He had a great sense of humour and invited me to come visit him in Tokyo some time. I haven’t been to Tokyo but it is definitely on the agenda. Below is a picture of me with Morihiko.

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I met one of the nicest couples on the night that did a film together about surfing in Canada in the winter but it was mixed with the fact we are destroying the earths sea mammals and the director Myriam Caron compared it to having a cancerous brain tumour and being trapped. Her partner Mathieu Crepeau stars in the film as one of the surfers followed with the cameras. It was a very touching film and her speech was very emotional having shared with the audience the fact that she is suffering from Cancer and that she hopes it will not be the last film she ever makes. Her smile is infectious and she has such a loving soul. The film was called Surf Boreal. Its a documentary. Below are the lovely couple I met, Myriam and Mathieu.

60639_10151368588769499_990326238_nThe actual festival was at Edgewater Casino on the waterfront in Vancouver. I found it weird having the festival on the second level of one of the smallest casinos I’ve ever seen but it had a big theatre room set up where the screenings took place so that was good. The actual awards ceremony was on the Saturday night and it was a full house. They apparently has a record breaking number of entries this year and the quality of the films were really good. I am still waiting for my trophy to come in the mail but at least I have the certificate to comfort me for now whilst I look at it proudly and think about how great a job the cast and crew did with the film. It was such a small last minute film but the two cast members, Tina Bursill and Kevin Healy, who have a long and honourable acting history in Australian Film and Television Industry, made the film such a joy to work on and they really were very professional. No second takes needed. It really pays to work with experienced actors when you are on tight budgets and tight time frames.

I spent a few days exploring Vancouver and you will be able to read about more posts I’ve written about my experience in Vancouver and the wonderful places I visited and photographed.

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Bloody Henry on the big screen.IMG_0438

The award ceremony.IMG_0450

Casting Director – Helen Mc Cready with the Special Jury Award for 5 hour Friends.48150_10151368587434499_288446934_n Venetia during her speech for Counting Happiness.537005_10151368587494499_937847404_n The Indian Boys from Montreal.541946_10151368588204499_1365443447_n

Myriam and I.IMG_0491 Anna and I. She won a student award for her short film. IMG_0499 IMG_0503

It was a great experience overall. Congratulations to all the award winners and all the people I met during the festival. Feel free to visit my Website www.littlescreenbigscreen.com to see trailers and links to my other work and projects.

 

Provence Cafe Vancouver

I love this place. I have only been once because I was recommended to go and I had the best breakfast there. I totally recommend it. It’s called Provence. It is located on the waterfront at 1177 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver. Phone number 604 681 4144.

I basically ordered two dishes for brunch as i wanted to try both. I had a warm goat cheese salad which was fabulous but my favorite winner was the Wild Mushroom Ravioli. It was sensational and I highly recommend it. I ordered an appetizer size but if I was to go back, i would order just that and a main version of it. Yummmm.

I totally recommend booking. I was only one person and I had no choice but to sit at the bar. I would prefer to sit at a table normally, however, I met two lovely people whilst sitting at the bar so it is more of a social option if dining alone.

The waterside is beautiful. In summer, you have the option to sit outside and enjoy the location. Inside, there is quote alot of seating but seeing it is quite a popular place, it gets full fairly quickly. After eating at Provence, I met up with a friend and we then caught the aqua bus boat from across the road to Granville Island, however that is another blog in itself.

Here are some photos below of the place and the two dishes I tried.

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Mozza Pizzeria Laval QC

I visited Mozza for lunch recently which is located at 505 Promenade du Centropolis, Laval, which is in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is a modern Pizzeria and it’s done up like a modern cafe with High ceilings, dark furniture and a sense of a lunchtime networking venue for local customers. It’s a pretty cool place to eat at. I think one of the requirements to work there would be you must be gay and have a happy energy about you, because the boys are all gay and happy that serve you. Of course, that means, good looking too.

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I ordered a pizza with mushrooms, tomato, olives and rocket. It was delicious. Veronique ordered a pizza with eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. They were both delicious. Lunchtime is very busy in the cafe because it is based in an area full of shops etc so there are alot of suits inside and group lunches with clients etc.

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Swimming Pool Terrebonne

I’ve checked out this swimming pool lately in Terrebonne. It is one of the biggest swimming pools I’ve seen. Terrebonne is North of Montreal and the pool is right next to a big sporting complex. It costs about $5.00 each time to go and swim and they are really strict with the time periods to swim. It’s not ideal but at least it’s an option because there are not alot of pools here to Swim at. I certainly miss the ocean pools in Australia.

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Stowe Mountain Lodge Vermont

I stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont recently. It is a skiing resort. I thought I might actually be able to get some writing done there but I couldn’t. It wasn’t because the place was no good, in fact, quite the opposite. It was busy, there were young people everywhere and very energetic and keen to get on the slopes to ski. As a skiing resort it is perfect, but to write, I couldn’t concentrate so my time there was cut short. I did however get to enjoy the surroundings and swimming in the heated pool whilst watching the skiiers glide down the slopes.

The Mountain lodge is located between New York and the Canada Border in Vermont. It is a nice drive to get there but if it is snowing, you really need to be careful. It has professional ski slopes that are really steep and I wouldn’t dare go down them. On the other side of the resort are the beginners slopes and there are lots of families skiing there. The food at the resort is good. I can’t say it’s fantastic after coming from Mohonk Mountain House for six weeks but it was still good. The room was definitely bigger and better though so it was a nice change.

This is a shot of my room at the lodge.

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Trump Soho NYC

Trump Hotel is located on Spring Street, in New York, Soho. I love this hotel. It is in a great location downtown and there are great boutiques and shopping near enough along Broadway etc. The view of the city is great. You really get to see how big New York City actually is when you take your time and take in the view. At night, the lights are magnificent. I love the view and that alone is worth the reservation. It is best to ask for the room where you can see both the city view and the Hudson River as you get the best of both sides. They have a nice private SPAA facility there. I got the Moroccan Hammam with my partner and it was absolutely a great experience.

They make you change into these tiny disposable black undies and you lie down next to each other on a solid cement round bed. They throw warm water on you both from these silver heating pots. They have towels on you and they scrub your body down and throw more water over you. The whole experience is really enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

We ordered room service in the Hotel and they bought dinner in and set it up for us. We ordered Sea Bass with a side of greens, a tuna appetiser and a side of fries with Herbs.

The whole delivery was magnificent and it always goes down nicely with some Champagne rose. The whole experience was fabulous and truly memorable.

Here are some pictures below of the room and view and us in the taxi.

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Charlie’s 3rd Bday

It is my little princess Charlie’s Birthday. I have not seen her since July 2012. It is a long time to be away from her. Her godmother Stephanie has been looking after her well and has spoilt her today with a dog treat and a doggie birthday party at home with her and ruby. She is so cute.

 

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I skype Steph about Charlie and she told me about how Charlie almost never made it to her third birthday. This is why below and it is a very true story that i am sure anyone who has owned dogs can appreciate. I love this story and I laughed. Here it is below, my last letter from Steph…..

“There are many movies that have ‘bones’ in the title’ – e.g. Winter Bones, Blood & Bone, The Bone Collector etc. There are also books and movies with ‘Charlie’ in the title. And  there is even a series – named after the main character – Charlie Bone – which contains both words:

  1. Midnight for Charlie Bone
  2. Charlie Bone and the Time Twister
  1. Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy
  2. Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors
  3. Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
  4. Charlie Bone and the Beast
  5. Charlie Bone and the Shadow
  6. Charlie Bone and the Red Knight

There is also a ‘Charlie Bone’ temporarily residing in Woollahra …. ‘temporarily’ because her days could be coming to an abrupt end!

Charlie Bone’s godmother had noticed a recent increase in creepy crawlies around the kitchen area … and blamed this on the hot weather, lack of fly screens, grotty neighbours etc. etc.

Late last week there seemed to be an odour emanating from somewhere. The godmother, being somewhat anal about such issues, decided to investigate further. She was fairly certain the kitchen area was not the suspect area – more likely it was the bathroom/laundry.  Out came artillery of cleaning products and equipment! She moved the washing machine in the bathroom and checked underneath, removed a storage cabinet, vacuumed, washed with bleach, sprayed surface spray in every nook and cranny.

Feeling somewhat relieved to find no surprises, she attacked the last corner of the bathroom where the huge hot water system resides, hidden behind a cover. As she vacuumed through the small access points, she felt the nozzle lock onto something solid. Her heart stopped beating; she turned off the vacuum and went to make a strong coffee!

After composing herself and mentally preparing herself for the worse, she dared to vacuum up the solid mass and to suction it out through the opening!! Was it something that had dropped off the vanity unit? Was it a ball that had rolled in during doggie playtime? What was it? OMG!!

‘It’ was a desiccated bone!

With more vacuum cleaning prodding and exploring, ‘it’ began to multiply …. And multiply! There was a cache of bones, now fossilized, hidden in this humanly inaccessible hiding place. As each bone was raised to the surface and deposited in the rubbish, the godmother became less of a fairy and more of a dragon! There were 7 (repeat SE7EN) large bones located! The bones must have been there for some time!

Although she considers herself to be extremely vigilant, Godmother is unable to accurately gauge when this activity took place – before or after Charlie started acting like a dog and burying bones in the very small garden and digging them up shortly afterwards and dragging them, covered with dirt, inside the house.

Charlie ‘Bone Storer’ almost didn’t live to see her 3rd BIRTHDAY today!”

Steph, if you are reading this blog, Thankyou from Charlie and I for putting up with her cheeky ways. She loves you very much and she does these things to keep you on your toes and active hahahaha. I think my dog takes after me too much hahahaa.

Bloody Henry at Canada Film Festival

I love creating films, thinking of stories and bringing them to life. I completed a film back in early January 2012 called Bloody Henry. I wanted to make a suspense film that made people laugh too. I came up with the idea of this film when there was a theme at Tropfest for lightbulb. I needed to find an older woman and a much older man to represent older men suffering from Dementia and alzheimer’s disease. I found Tina Bursill, who in the past, has won Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series called Skyways back in the 70s. I found Kevin Healy to play Henry and both of them bring so many years acting experience to the film that it was great working with them. They did a great job and I hardly needed to direct much with Tina as she was brilliant to work with. Both of them have had a long career in Australian Television.

The film is only 7 minutes in length and it was filmed in Sydney. It has recently won a place in the Official Selection of the Canada International Film Festival which means it will premiere on April 5th 2013. I am so pleased that this short film will start to be seen in the festivals.

To see the trailer of the film, check out this link.

The film was shot by Christopher McHardy and edited by George Gryllis.

The flyers for the film designed by Steve Fanale
Bloody Henry JPGThe Riding Santa
IMG_4728 Kevin Healy as HenryScreenshot Bloody HenryBROUGHT TO YOU BY:

LSBS WHITE HD LOGO for POSTER AND DVD

Missing my Dog, Charlie

Missing a pet is hard. I’ve been away from Charlie since July 2012. My great friend Stephanie has been her fill in mum for this whole time and Charlie loves her alot. She is like my little princess. This photo below is her at Double Bay in the water. Too funny. Stephanie sends me photos of her all the time and each time, they make me smile. I miss her but at the same time, I know she is in the best of hands.

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Charlies hair looks like its getting lighter on the body of her coat. The colour on her head still looks red but the back of her is lighter.

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This is Stephanie’s dog Ruby with Charlie at the park.

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Skyping Charlie: So much fun talking to Charlie. When she hears my voice, she looks at the screen. Technology is so cool and Skype is awesome. I get to watch her chasing the cat next door.

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This little girl below is called Ananda and she is a Yorkshire. She is from Montreal and soon, I want to try and bring Charlie to Montreal but I’m really not sure how easy that will be. I can’t wait for them to meet and be friends, and close like sisters. 

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Karma Road Cafe New Paltz NY

Karma Road Cafe is on New Paltz Road, New Paltz. It makes organic food of all types and they make really nice fresh vegetable and fruit juices. I go down there alot to eat their food. It is a pretty relaxed atmosphere and the staff are really friendly and serve you with smiles. It is such a nice change from some other places. I recommend if you are in the area that you stop by and pop in. They have these great vegetarian burgers and they are tasty. I had a falafel wrap today with hummus, avocado, tomato and lettuce. It was great. They make nice muffins also with blueberries and choc chips.

 

Krause’s Chocolate New Paltz, NY

Chocolate heaven is what I call Krause’s Chocolate. They are in New Paltz, New York and worth getting the chocolate delivered and even worth the drive. It is amazing when you combine all the different sorts of chocolate they have for variety. The box below is what they serve the chocolates in. There are all different sizes and when you have your chocolate selected, they are weighed.

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These below are my favourite chocolate in the shops. On the far left are the Dark Chocolate caramels. The caramel inside is dark and in between tough and soft. It is a darker coloured caramel inside and delicious. The square chocolates in the middle are called caramellow. They are Dark Chocolate on the outside and inside they have white marshmallow on the top and on the bottom is a thick caramel that’s beautifully soft. It feels sensational. The chocolates on the right are dark chocolate with coconut and they are amazing. They are called Coconut Toasties. I think that is because they toast the coconut on the outside making it lusciously tasty. The entire shop has a huge selection of chocolates as seen in the photos below but these three are my favourites. I love Dark Chocolate and the chocolates you see below are also available in milk chocolate.

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Mohonk Mountain House 3 NY

This is the third and last blog about Mohonk directly. It is Mohonk Mountain house and it is in New Paltz, Upstate New York. I have loved my time here and these shots below have been taken over the past few weeks and some on the weekend of my birthday. I came to Mohonk with the intention to write a book in my own time whilst enjoying the area, and I have accomplished that goal. The special factor around that book was that I wrote it at Mohonk Mountain House and I felt very inspired by the area, and the energy that the place house surrounding it. It may have something to do with the old burial ground nearby but it is a real lovely place to come visit. You can also Ice Skate too but if you are like me, and haven’t ice skated for a while, I would go slow or else you may just face plant onto the ice and feel sorry for yourself afterwards hehe.

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New Paltz Post Office NY

I now have more faith in US postal services since visiting New Paltz Post Office. The staff were friendly and inside the post office they had a section as seen in the photos, set aside for envelopes and things to pack up a parcel rather than line up first for ages and then get the envelopes and then line up again. Maybe it is because it is a smaller country town but they really need to put this system in the city stores. It makes more sense. When they run post offices like small businesses and allow people to buy and purchase things inside, it makes business alot better for them and adds more variety and interest for the customers. The staff were really helpful and it was great.

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Pedicure NYC

Who doesn’t enjoy a pedicure. When I came to NYC it really took me a while to settle in. I wasn’t used to the winter and I would say to myself why bother getting the toes done when I walk around with a million layers of clothing but it isn’t about that. It is about feeling like a woman, feeling good and a little pampering doesn’t go astray.

I’ve found this place on Mott St, Near Prince St and they are a really clean business. Many asian women and men inside ready to treat you. There is this one girl in the pictures below who does a really great job waxing and I would go again.

They charge heaps though. I had a good wax and a pedicure and it cost $200. Pretty steep because that doesn’t include the tipping which is 15%. Anyway, I am just glad I have found a place that is nearby and does a good job I am happy with. When I went to another local place nearby on the Little Italy end, I really thought the woman had waxed my flesh out. I was traumatised. Thought I would show you some photos of the place and the woman in the place.

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Tammany Hall NYC

The thing that I like about NYC, is that when you go out to places at night for a drink or dance, it is all underground. It is like this secret party society network. It’s amazing, if there is no more room on earth, that is okay, let’s just dig down and create a while new world underneath. Well, that is what it feels like anyway.

My friend Nikkis birthday was on and we went for a great dinner in a group and then she wanted to go to a place called Tammany Hall. It is in the East Village I believe. You go underground and there is this cool wall full of pictures and a narrow corridor where I took some funny photos of Nikki and then we went into the club. An average looking bar really and downstairs section but it was intimate once it filled up a little.

What I really liked was the little section upstairs. It was like a private room but you could look over the balcony to downstairs and just ‘people watch’ really.

We had fun dancing and being clowns. On the ceiling upstairs as well, they had this great wall paper of cool images of cameras etc that looked illustrated and with the dim lights shining on them, the place just looked really cool.

Here are some shots below to share the night. My friend Nikki really has this obsession with beards and moustaches so she put on this beard whilst we were walking to the club. Quite entertaining really. As I say, ‘each to their own’. hahahah.

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Mohonk Mountain House 2 NY

This is to follow on from my last blog and show you more photos about Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York, in the town of New Paltz. The place is just stunning when you see it at different time of the day and through different weather patterns.

This is my favourite part of the whole place. The 25m indoor pool area which is part of the SPAA facilities. This section of the building was only added in the past ten years. It is just divine to swim in a pool that is so nice and warm and outside it is snowing. It’s kind of surreal but just great and I love writing from in this room too. Very inspiring.

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Mohonk Mountain House NY

I am in Mohonk Mountain House for a period of Six Weeks. Most people stay here for a few nights because it is so luxurious and it is an old Historical Castle resort originally built in 1875. There is an old Indian burial ground nearby from when the area was invaded by the Dutch years ago and the tribal people were overtaken. You know, that isn’t the accurate description so maybe it’s best to read up on the history of it. I have put a link here on the Mohonk Mountain House for anyone who wants to look it up or book to stay here.

View from my room below. This is the lakeside view room and at the moment, you can see the lake with a sheet of ice covering it.

 

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Ebony Hillbillies NYC

I love catching the subway because of all the entertainment I find whilst waiting. One day I saw all these women and men walking around in wonder woman underwear and I wanted to know what they were doing but they wouldn’t tell me. I saw a news article later that said a movement had started one day a year where all these people in LA and New York get together for fun and and dress up, walking around the city in their underwear. Americans love dressing up. It is really funny.

This one day I went down there and I saw the coolest band called the Ebony Hillbillies and seeing it is my birthday, I thought I would share them with you because they are a really call black band and their energy is so much fun. They are so active and you can’t help but be energised and smile as you listen to them. Absolutely amazing.

Here is a link to a bit of their performance. Ebony Hillbillies for web

Below are some photos of them too. I love the Cello player. He had such a nice energy about him.

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Town of New Paltz NY

Driving upstate in NY, is a place called New Paltz. It is actually the town where Mohonk Mountain House is located. Mohonk is amazing and I love staying there. It is really pretty when it snows but as you will see by a photo further down, the snow can be a little dangerous when driving and accidents happens. I am always there to capture it.

New Paltz has everything you need really. Little country town feel, a local Chase Bank, and of course a local Star bucks and Mcdonalds and Burger King. It has a good sized supermarket with everything and you can tell you are out of Manhattan because everything is so much cheaper.

When you are right in the heart of the town, there are some great little different cuisine shops. Chinese, Thai, Japanese Sushi, seafood and pizza shops. There was even a Greek shop but I haven’t eaten there yet. I think when you have a greek background and you always have grown up with good greek food, it feels like an insult to my mother, if I was to eat at another greek restaurant. Okay, well maybe not that extreme. Maybe, it is the fact that most of the time, you will get disappointed because no one makes better greek food than my mother and relatives combined. Years of mastery.

Okay, back to New Paltz. The local deli is tiny but manages to have everything in there. It is cute and there is also a little cinema near the supermarket. I noticed they are big with their Yoga as I saw two huge Yoga centres along the way.

When I parked my car to stop along the way, I was with my partner and we went to pay for parking and it cost 25 cents. They have a 25 cent coin here and I just laughed. How affordable is that? If only we could pay that price for all parking everywhere.

The Bridge at the end of New Paltz to head towards Mohonk.

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Driving Upstate NY

Recently I have needed to come upstate New York to get out of the city and write. What a better way to do that then to drive away. I was headed for Mohonk Mountain House. I took some photos on the way because the day I was driving, it had started to snow and I am not used to snow at all so for me it was all very exciting and interesting and I am sure anyone reading this in the same boat will enjoy what I could see out of my window whilst driving. I was on the I87 which is the interstate 87 road and if you need to stop, you veer off and end up going through a little town to stop and eat something. The towns upstate are very cute and most of the people are really friendly too.

It is hard to believe that New York is actually this big. When I would think of New York, it would always be the city of Manhattan and the Bronx, and Queens. There is a lot more to it and it’s fabulous.

Photos below of the drive.

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Hudson in the Winter NYC

I love the Hudson River. It is such a beautiful part of New York. I have written a few blogs about it because I think it is picturesque. I was down there recently now that it is winter and I noticed that the sun sets a little more over to the left which changes the whole feel of the sunset. It is a beautiful spot anytime of year. My favourite is still the summer time because when the sun sets, it sets behind the buildings and changes the colour of the wooden posts. I still like it like this though so though I’d share these photos.

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Hachi – NYC

I like Hachi. I went there for my friend Nickis Birthday. It is at 185 Orchard St, Lower East Side. It is a Japanese infused restaurant. There were ten of us and it was a great night. Actually, I felt the service was very slow but I am unsure if that was because we were in a big group or not. We had to continuously tell them to take plates away and follow up on food.

The food was well presented. I was very disappointed that they only offered Saki, wine and beer as I don’t drink those things but apart from that, I enjoyed the food I ate. I had the salmon and it was great. The birthday girl is obsessed with moustaches so she organised moustaches for everyone to be able to click on your drinking straws. I have put some photos below to show you the food presentation.

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Momofuku – NYC

Momofuku Ssam Bar is located at 207 2nd Ave, New York. I went there with friends and had a great meal.

Momofuku can translate from Japanese as ‘Lucky Peach’. It is owned by the chef founder David Chang. There are several restaurants now in New York, Canada and Sydney.

It is a great restaurant and the food is really great. When I went initially, I noticed the ambience was quite dark and a colder feel inside but very cool and simply designed. You can see the kitchen from the end tables and the chef and kitchen staff are all presented neat with their white chef outfits.

It’s a nice night. I ordered a ginger cocktail infused drink that came out with one huge square ice cube and it had a sure bite to it. One of my friends was a chef and so she wanted to try many of the dishes. She had pre ordered the duck main and it was huge. It was well presented and plenty of food for three. In fact, we had so much left over that I took it to the homeless shelter on Bowery St Mission.

Here are some of the photos below of the food there and my two visiting friends. The way they infuse the flavours together was great and a mixture of textures in their ingredients also.

 

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Museum of Natural History NYC

What a great place to visit. So much to see and do. We entered through the subway section, so you need to catch the C train to 81st Street and then walk straight into the Museum from there. Doing it this way though, you don’t go through the main entrance. The cost is around $19.00 to enter however this is technically a donation. If you cannot afford to pay the $19.00, you don’t have too. As we walked in, we ate something in the cafeteria, then walked in. At first, we were thinking, What is the big deal about this place. Then we found the really cool spots where we walked to the dinosaur section and the found the African Mammal section. I was excited and it finally clicked to me why everyone was bragging about this museum and how great it is. We have nothing like this in Australia. It’s awesome.

Dinosaur Hands:

 

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These three pictures below are a taste of the African Mammal Section further Below. They look like paintings but they aren’t. They are window displays and inside they have animals that look real and seem stuffed and are built in their environments. It is the closest to seeing and experiencing the African animals without actually going. It is pretty amazing and my favourite part of the museum.


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The Ocean Animals Section: A really cool section too with a massive full size whale hanging from the roof which is the size of the entire room. You can lay on the floor and look up at the whale to feel the size of the whale above you. This place is so well set up. Loved it.

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This is a Malarial Mosquito. It is awesome the way it is magnified to see every little thing on it. Wow, wow wow. 

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This Museum is a must see coming to New York.

 

Subway Fun NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subways:

 

There is alot of fun to be had around Subways. Every time my friends come to NYC, I show them around the Subways. Grand Central has heaps of shops. Some subways like 81 st have pictures on the tiles. Other places have random pictures that you can just stand in front of and take photos and the great thing in Winter, is it’s warm and out of the rain and snow. Here are some photos below of some fun Subway shots.

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Below if you look carefully, you will see a common rat located in the bottom of the track coming out of its hole in the wall. 7R1A0020 7R1A0139 7R1A0142 7R1A0144 7R1A0147 7R1A0149 7R1A0155 7R1A0156

Dave and Busters NYC

If you enjoy Time Zones, Fun Arcade Games, Video games, and indoor fun parlours but wish there were no kids there and you could have other adults around you. Dave and Beers in Times Square is the place to go. It has a bar, food and games everywhere. You buy a playing card and off you go. As you play, you collect tokens and then take them to a window to see if you win anything. I love the games in this place. They have Deal or no Deal, Wheel of Fortune, basketball and all the game shows on TV you can think of. Lots of fun for an adult arcade. So take good company and go have some fun. I loved Deal or no Deal and they make good cocktails too.

Here are some photos of the place.

Basketball

Basketball

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The Game below is air Hockey but with four sides to it so four can play. How cool is that. IMG_8396 IMG_8397 IMG_8398 IMG_8399 IMG_8400 IMG_8401

Outside Dave and Busters in Times Square. Local Jewish guy riding with advertisment behind him. IMG_8404 IMG_8405

 

Millennium Hotel NYC

Recently, I got to go into the Millennium Hotel, Broadway, located on 43rd St, off Broadway. It is right next to Toys R Us in Times Square. Very Central and an easy location if you are only in New York for a short stay.

The front foyer is well presented, taxis are easy to come by outside. The rooms are good. They are not as big as the rooms at the Hilton but they are a decent size. The views you get, are of the city buildings. The carpet in the hallways could probably do with a revamp as they seem a little old. The bathrooms are an average size. The bath tubs are those mid deep ones so if you plan on wanting a deep bath tub, you may want to check this first. There is a gym in the building but no pool. :(

Outside the hotel is the mirrored wall and it turns you into all sizes if you stand in front of it.

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View from the hotel. 7R1A1050

911 Towers Progress NYC

The First Twin Tower

911 caused so much devastation and then dispute over who was contributing to what in terms of the building of the twin towers that it has taken quite a few years to get it to this point.

I’ve been watching the progress and when I was in New York back in February they had barely started the second tower. Now they are progressing well with it. If you see the photos below, you can see the man power and huge cranes they are using to build. The gates below both towers are very high and you cant get in to the area. I have a great view when I stand outside it, right near Century 21 Department Store.

The Second Tower

A Different Angle of the second tower

The bottom of Tower One

 

Grand Central NYC

Grand Central is exactly what it sounds like – Grand. It is really beautiful inside and if you walk inside the main concourse section you will notice it will be very familiar to you. That is because it is featured in many movies. That is why it is exciting to be inside the main section to at least say you know what it is like to there. Well, I have been there quite a few times now and I enjoy stopping by each time. Just to see peoples faces when they stand inside it for the first time is very sweet. I took a few shot in there the other day I was there to share the main concourse room with you and also the actual subway area.

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Party City Store NYC

This store is so cool. It has everything you need for your party needs. It puts our Sydney party stores to shame. Now that it is Christmas and New Years time, they have rows of Santa Suits, a whole section of New Years Hats of all colours and some of their aisles are colour coded so that their feather boas and masks, plus everything else, are available in each colour.

When you walk in to the store, there is a whole Balloon section to the left that has every character in the US available for your themed party. To the right are lollies of all sorts in little containers and you can choose 15 for $1. It’s actually not a bad buy. Everything is such a good price. They have party cups, special occasion gear, and they even have everything party like for every football team, baseball team, soccer party sections and all the young kids favourite little character sections.

It’s awesome. I walked around taking photos for you to see what they have in there. This store makes me happy. It’s so bright and so spacious with lots of great vibrant things to choose from.

The Entrance

The Balloon Section

Santa Hats

Christmas Choices

Santa Suits to choose from

Garden Sticks, Scary

Masks

Masks are sectioned in Colors

The soccer accessories

Accessories, tiny glasses and skateboards finger size

Christmas Decorations NYC

I love visiting cities but I certainly like leaving the hecticness that a city comes with. Whether or not you are a city or person or not, you really cannot go past the joys of the efforts that people go to within the city, to make it feel like Christmas. The spirit in this city is alive. There are decorations everywhere. People ice skating under Christmas Trees, big sculptures of Christmas lights and baubles on Sixth Avenue and much more. Here are a few pictures below I took of some Christmas decorations I have come across around the city. Except the photo directly below. This is a photo I came across that I actually love so uch. I would love to own this and go and stay in it during Christmas time with a loved one. How perfectly romantic does that seem?

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