Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Monday, December 5, 2016

South Africa In Pictures

Bicycling South Africa’s Western Cape with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, I coursed through a land full of contrasts: rugged coastlines and arid fields; palatial wine estates and townships roiled by poverty; dramatic gorges and simple blooming gardens. As I rolled through steep hairpin turns, I came upon a family of baboons frolicking on the asphalt. Strolling along a seaside boardwalk gave me a close-up view of dozens of penguins whose feathers were ruffled from the wind. Other roadside finds included a wild ostrich that took a fancy to a cyclist who wasn’t in our group and decided to chase him at high speed along the highway. This was a journey that revolved around integrating all of the botanical, geological, agricultural and cultural phenomena that make up South Africa’s Western Cape. This short YouTube video slideshow provides a window into my adventure.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Holiday Crafts Market

Are you on the lookout for creative gifts for friends, family and colleagues? If you’re in New York City, head on down to downtown Brooklyn any of the first three weekends in December. I will be there December 10th and December 17th only. And I'm very much looking forward to showing my creations at this well-curated market that’s focused on fashion, art and design, hence the acronym F.A.D. I will be selling five of my items: photo prints, AngryJ dolly, fashionable multi-pocket vest for women, unisex micro travel bag, and any-occasion photo greeting cards. Anyone who comes to my table and mentions they heard about this on my blog, will automatically get a 10% discount. And anyone buying my vest + bag will get these two items for $204 instead of $240, a $36 discount. See ya.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gear Review: Comfy Après Ski Slippers

Cold weather has finally blanketed much of the nation today, bringing to mind that ski season is near. When I go cross country skiing, there's nothing better than hanging out in a cozy lodge at the end of a long day near a roaring fire with a glass of wine. Normally I curl up on a strategically placed arm chair or sofa far from any chilling breezes, wearing a fleece jacket and pants and thick wool socks. But these colorful slippers by Giesswein are warm sans socks. First, I fell in love with the  hand-stitched floral motif, representing the wildflowers you'd find in Austrian fields.  Then, I marveled at the comfort, especially because I didn't expect the quality arch support. Though it's constructed of wool, the upper isn't itchy on my bare feet that also didn't sweat in this slippers. Finally, the natural materials fit my eco sensibility: the dyes are derived from vegetables; no synthetic cements or glues were used in its manufacture and only natural materials were used in its construction -- aside from the wool, there's recycled carbon, natural jute and rubber.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gear Review: Convertible Hat

With carry-on luggage rules tightening on those who buy economy tickets, there are even more reasons to pack gear that serves dual or more functions. This item doubles as a hat and a neck warmer or buff, as I often call that. The drawstring allows for venting and the polyester fabric is wickable, useful when you’re engaged in vigorous activities like cross country skiing or hiking in the winter. This product is made by Chaos, a company I recently blogged about and one that carries a wide array of hats for all occasions and activities. 

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

My Travel Photo Prints - Now on Sale

I'm offering photo prints from my round the world travels. 

Sizes vary -- and I can arrange custom printing -- but most are approximately 8" x 10" and are printed on foam board. 

And, because the holidays are approaching, anyone who purchases one photo print for $30 will get either a limited edition AngryJ t-shirt (sizes and colors are limited) or my Doc-in-a-Bag first aid kit organizer. Each represents a $25 value. And the offer is in effect until Christmas Eve 2016.

To purchase a photo print of your choice, click here. And, when you place your order, indicate whether you'd like the t-shirt or first-aid kit organizer

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Reversible Hats for Winter

I definitely have a thing for reversible clothing and accessories. This sensibility fits in with my "never check luggage" ethic. Why bring a couple of dresses, skirts, sweaters and hats when you could trim it down to one of each? I'm a recent fan of Chaos, a hat company with a women's, men's and unisex hats for winter or summer, some reversible, like the beanie below. This one is last year's model but they've got some very warm and stylishly hip hats in the current collection. (I love the one's with a combination of snuggly fabrics, such as Merino wool, cashmere or alpaca.)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

High Performance Socks For All Activities

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you probably have concluded that Merino wool is my go-to fabric, whether for underwear or dresses. Of course, I've long relied on Merino wool socks for all my adventures, including cycling, Nordic skiing and hiking. And this includes summer treks, because unlike what most people may believe, this fabric is great at keeping feet cool and comfortable, wicking away sweat effectively. But some Merino wool socks work better than others. I just found out about Feetures, a family-owned U.S.-based company that provides a lifetime guarantee. Their Elite brand combines the wool with rayon from bamboo, making for an ultra soft texture. The socks have no uncomfortable seams at the toe. I've been wearing several pair over the past few weeks for all sorts of activities, in the heat and cold, in dry weather where I've been working up a sweat, and in the rain. Through all of that, my feet were blister free, comfortable, and dry. (Normally my feet and socks are a sweaty mess, which encourages blister formation.) I also was pleased with the fit that hugged my foot and even exerted a little compression on the arch, which enhanced my comfort when walking and hiking. So, now Feetures will be my go-to sock. I'm packing several pair in my bag for my upcoming biking trip in South Africa.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nevis In The Caribbean - In Pictures

Have you ever heard of Nevis? If you asked "what's that," you're not alone. When I recently told all my travel savvy friends I was heading to Nevis for a few days, that was their response. But, when I said it was near St. Kitts, then everyone responded with recognition, not of Nevis but of its sister island It's too bad because what they're missing is a lush, volcanic island where the picturesque views of the probably extinct volcanic cone, Mt. Nevis -- it rises more than 3,000 feet smack in the center of the island -- are ever present. Most visitors come to this wee island to climb this majestic peak, an almost all-day challenging activity, or settle into one of many villas in the interior where privacy is respected. So much so that this island is quite attractive to the celebrity set. But my interests were altogether different. I stayed at a boutique inn, Golden Rock, where one of the guest accommodations is a converted old sugar mill and where the surrounding gardens are designed by renowned landscape designer Raymond Jungles; trekked along placid nature paths and rain forest trails where I didn't run into anyone else; explored the Botanical Garden that offers a high antioxidant purple-hued icy beverage in a scenic veranda; and visited the various old sugar plantations that are now home to expansive, upscale but low-key resorts. My YouTube video slideshow provides a window into my journey.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

New York City's World Trade Center Redevelopment

The World Trade Center site has certainly seen its share of dramatic transformations, decades ago it went from a landfill to an epicenter of finance with the twin towers as the centerpiece. Before the devastation, this was a complex with the soaring glass Winter Garden that was quite egalitarian: with shops and restaurants where most demographics could find something enticing. Then 9/11 occurred. And the long, drawn-out, much debated and argued about rebuilding process. And, yet, there were dining, shopping and drinking experiences that could appeal to almost every person. The waterfront property beckoned with its views of the Hudson and establishments where you could enjoy a mango sorbet at Ciao Bella, sip a glass of wine at an outdoor patio facing the Hudson at Southwest New York, shop at the Gap, pick up lunch at Blockheads Burrito, or meet a colleague for Japanese food at Yushi. All these shops and more were shuttered when the developer decided the place needed not only a new look, given the opening of the spectacularly overpriced Santiago Calatrava-designed train station, but needed to draw on customers that would otherwise gravitate to Madison Avenue. So now we have a site that feels cold and impersonal and highly elitist. Despite my negative reactions to most everything on the site with the exception of the stellar water views and expansive green spaces, I found some lovely design and architectural details to share.

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