Guest Blogger Edition: Paradise Found at Majahuitas!

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Our good friend M had recently gone on an great trip that made us seriously envy her. She gracefully granted our wish to be a guest blogger and share this special trip with all of you!

In her words:
We needed a getaway from the Wisconsin winter and were craving something unlike our typical educational, sightseeing, ‘pack-as-much-as-possible into each day’ trips we were used to taking. This time we were looking for a place to unwind, eat well, surround ourselves with nature, and above all else, relax and rejuvenate.

Not at all interested in the conventional Mexico spring break trips or all-inclusive resorts jam-packed with people, we thought we found heaven when we came across Majahuitas. It is an extraordinary gem, an hour cab ride and a 15 minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. It’s an eco-friendly resort so no electricity – just solar energy for a few sparse lights and not a television, phone, or computer to be found. And I can honestly say I didn’t once miss being ‘plugged in’ during our stay.
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Our casita for the week was the Sunset House, where everything was open-air, including the bathroom & shower. We fell asleep to the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the beach and awoke to tropical birds singing outside our porch.
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The gong rang 3 times daily, signaling it was time to head down to the beach for an amazing meal – most often including a mexican breakfast with fresh fruit, local seafood and tapas for lunch, and a delightful dinner that was enjoyed by all guests, family-style, under a candlelight chandelier.

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After the evening meal and a beach bonfire, we would make our way back to the casita (all the paths and our bungalow were filled with hundreds of handmade candles that were lit while we were dining) to play some cribbage, enjoy our surroundings, and gush about how lucky we were to be staying at such a dream locale.

Some highlights of the trip included an intense hike through the jungle to a beautiful waterfall, an outdoor massage with the babbling river sounds in the background, spotting a sea turtle during our morning kayak excursion, and a little trip to the nearby fishing village of Yelapa – where we saw another gorgeous waterfall along with yoga studios and such for the many ex-pats that live there. Of course, relaxing on the beach with a book and, thanks to the yellow labs at the resort that would bark with excitement and run out to the beach at the first signs of whales and dolphins, we got to add those sightings to our list of great moments.
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It is hard to describe this magnificent place in just a few paragraphs and photos – in fact, now that we’re back in the snow and cold, it seems hard to imagine this treasure of a resort even really existed. It was the perfect marriage of luxury resort/dining and rustic camping. It’s remarkable how much you can leave behind and do without, as long as you have fresh air, good company, and outstanding food. What I wouldn’t do for some fresh octopus and empanadas on the beach right now…

Surprise Lessons of Glazing

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It is always a surprise to see what comes out of the kiln. Sometimes I can hardly wait. Before you glaze everything is just milky white and uniform as in the above picture. This time around I had quite a few pieces that I was waiting for.

Taking chances and letting it go was my philosophy when I glazed these pieces. So I was so scared an excited at the same time to see IF my bravado actually paid off. Certainly had pleasant surprises but learned lots of lessons.

Magic of glazing is the unexpected results of combining colors. You can always create more predictability by testing shards using glazes. Many artists do so they have an idea what the combination will result in. For now I prefer to be surprised, so I am taking risks.

Plate glaze combo: white, amber, copper
This was a risk that paid off – I had never tried this combination before. The copper sheen particularly looks nice.
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Cube glaze combo: shiny bone, iron oxide, floating blue
This was a lesson learned. One side turned out good but other sides not so much. I had patterns that I brushed with iron oxide first the glazed with then shiny bone and on top the blue.

Good side /Bad side:
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Buttons: chameleon, wax
My sister G wanted me to make some jewelry pieces and I was playing around I made buttons. Had to learn how to glaze them so they would not fuse to the kiln shelves. After waxing the holes and bottom, used chameleon to paint them. So far the have put a smile on people’s faces.
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What are some of your favorite glaze combinations?

In the spirit of this newfound courage and the surprising results, today I took more chances and glazed all sorts of other colors. Will let you know how they turn out!

Spring Fashion

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The slushy snow has covered NYC, but in our cozy office spring is in full bloom. This is what I love about fashion – it can brighten any dull gray day. Hope what you see here brightens your day too.

Fresh on our racks:
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Shoes:
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Happy Spring to all of us!!
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Packing List

I found myself packing again this weekend. Traveling frequently enough teaches you new things. One of the most difficult types of packing is packing for business trips.

Here is what I have learned, besides my obsession with rolling everything (see previous post)… take a picture of your well put together outfits. Say you rocked it today and really like the outfit you wore – snap a picture so you have a virtual reminder. I often look at my pictures to recall what I wore and how I wore it. This makes packing really easy – you have a gallery of complete outfits you know will work All you have to do is roll them into your suitcase.

No matter what type of work you do… power suits to business casual to edgy fashion….applying this technique works and helps you pack less. When you are unsure and packing individual pieces you are bound to take more stuff with you.

So for my 3 day creative business trip to NY I am packing 4 outfits, 1 pair of boots, 1 handbag, 1 laptop, small cosmetic pouch, toothbrush, vitamins. What I am NOT packing; hair products or tools, multiple shoes, individual clothing items that are not part of an outfit, accessories for each outfit, food or snacks, etc. Less is more!

Here are a few of my favorite looks that inspire me:
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Fashion conquers the snowy weather!

So what does a shoe lover do when it snows like crazy??
She conquers it!

Outside we have deep snow, ice, and more snow. Exhibit A:
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But we love fashion and our cute shoes – so we are still rocking them. Wearing warm boots like ugg or sorel on our way to work and errands… And we let loose indoors. Exhibit B:
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Just because its cold outside does not mean you can’t wear your cute shoes. So what are you rocking on your feet today?

Gingerly Talk

How about to putting some ginger in your life? This wonder spice has time-tested digestion-friendly properties. Especially during winter I like to use dryed or fresh ginger in my soups or my black or green teas a lot both were good for battling cold and flu leaving you with warm feeling.

We find this ginger candy very handy when we are on the go it works wonders you can just eat it as candy or boil some water and make some hearty tea that will warms you up instantly. Image Fresh ginger is a root and can be found in many markets. Always buy a light and plump piece; if its shriveled it is not as fresh. It is also great for use in cooking and steeping fresh ginger tea. For example a simple ginger garlic shrimp dish is out of this world!!
20130303-111424.jpgPeel it, then slice or grate based on your preference. Ginger is naturally fibrous and as you cut into it it should be juicy not dry. Since ginger is quite potent a little bit goes a long way. Ginger is an acquired taste. Best way to introduce it to your family’s diet maybe baking candied ginger into cakes and muffins.
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Let’s talk ginger – how do you use it??