Sunday, January 31, 2021

Green Spaces and Art in Connecicut

 Just one hour from my home in New York City, Ridgefield, Connecticut is blessed with abundant green spaces.

On my recent visit, every morning I jogged through the historic district populated by grand properties, with some houses dating to the 18th century.

In addition to lush expanses, Ridgefield also is known for its creative institutions. Near the trailhead for the two-some-mile rail-trail — a converted rail corridor— I spotted this photo mural outside the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. This is Miles Davis by Anton Corbijn. 

The Weir Farm National Historic Site and the adjacent nature reserve is a bucolic expanse of emerald fields, rugged stone walls, serene wetlands and shaded trails. Named for Impressionist painter, J. Alden Weir who lived here, this stunning venue has long been and continues to be an inspiration to artists.

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Sale: Innovative and Creative Products That I Designed - Locally Made

Winter already seems particularly long this year. So I decided to hold a Winter Sale. (Kind of a way of celebrating the days growing longer.) Anyone using this discount code 17F47WX when shopping in my store will get 20% off on any of my products. (The sale is on until the last day of Winter, March 19.) They are all locally made, mostly in the New York/New Jersey area. Shopping locally and favoring small businesses — especially those owned by women — is important to me. That’s why I joined the New York City Fair Trade Coalition. To find out more about my products that I designed and created, click here for my interview with the NYC Fair Trade Coalition. You’ll learn about my 7-in-1 wallet, cross-body bag, fashionable multi-pocket vest for women, any-occasion photo greeting cards and, of course, the quirky AngryJ. Find out why AngryJ is a hit with adults. 

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

My Interview: Hiking An Awe-Inspiring Trail in Spain

I’ve hiked all over the world. And, by far, the trail that always puts a smile on my face when I think back to my journey is the Camino dos Faros (Lighthouse Way) in Galicia Spain. A streaming Spanish program recently invited me to talk about my experiences on this trek and why I adore this trail. This is my 10-minute interview with Cristina Alonso.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Hotel Stays and Travels (by car) in the time of COVID - Strategies

For the last many months, I’ve been renting a car and visiting scenic (and peaceful) locales within two hours of my home in New York City. That mostly meant small towns and villages in Connecticut and New York’s Hudson Valley. Here are some of the strategies I used in the time of COVID to deal with the car rental and the accommodations.

Here’s the COVID kit I pack for the trip:

— Clorox wipes

— DIY bleach disinfectant: two tablespoons of bleach to one quart of water in a spray bottle

— paper towels

— two-ply face masks and three-ply surgical masks

— polypropylene face mask filters

— goggles

— alcohol swabs

— alcohol-based hand sanitizer

— a bottle of 70% alcohol

— latex-free gloves

— detergent to wash face masks and washable polypropylene filters

Strategies with the Car Rental:

— Rent at a small location, not an airport. 

— I rent mid-week, hoping it’s less busy than a weekend

— All transactions are done outdoors

— Even though the car has been cleaned/disinfected, I disinfect all contact surfaces myself with bleach

— I keep the windows open for the first hour of the journey to allow for fresh airflow

— I choose a destination that’s short — more than 2-3 hours or from home — so there are no need for bathroom breaks

Strategies with the Accommodation:

— I choose only small hotels/inns where I can speak with the person in charge — preferably the owner — and directly assess their COVID consciousness

— I assess their COVID strategies for disinfecting and cleaning, as well as whether the staff (and guests) must wear masks over their nose and mouth 100% of the time in public places

— I ask them when was my room last occupied by a guest. I prefer a room that was unoccupied for a minimum of 24 hours. 

—  I request that they leave at least one window open for fresh air

— I choose a room that doesn’t require navigating through the building to get to my door, preferably a room in the rear of the accommodation with a separate entrance.

— I ask if I can eat in the room or, if it’s good weather, if there is a place outdoors to eat where I will not have to interact with other guests. After all, I’ll be getting take-out meals only. (I don’t eat indoors nor do I eat meals at outdoor venues near other patrons.)

— Check-in is best done contactless

— I request that no one enter my room during my stay, in other words, no room service

— if they serve breakfast, I ask if it can be delivered outside my door

— Once I’m in my room, I disinfect all contact surfaces with bleach

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