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Monday, October 24, 2016

Maine-ly Drizzle: A Gourmet Spin on Oil and Vinegar

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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).



Truth: I am not an oil and vinegar person, not even vinaigrette. Balsamic vinegar is the worst. Or so I thought. I thought I was unusual until I found out there are many persons who cannot tolerate vinegar. Thus, imagine my surprise when I sampled my way around Maine-ly Drizzle, a delightful charming boutique of a shop tucked up in Kennebunkport. The store focuses mostly on pairing the right type of oil with the right type of vinegar. I should know: the person ringing me up asked me if I was sure of my choices because my pairings weren't quite traditional.



At any rate, I was positive about my selections because I had sampled my way through the shop with tongue teasing pairings in oils such as Meyer Lemon, Blood Orange and Persian Lime matched up with the not recommended pairings such as Grapefruit White Balsamic and Dark Chocolate. Yum.

I found out that I could most certainly tolerate such pairings if I made it myself. Apparently bottled dressings or even fine dining recipes make the proportions too acidic for me, irritating my throat. If I make it myself, I'm in business! It's on now!

Debbie, one of the owners of Maine-ly Drizzle

The owner is a delightful person by the name of Debbie, who, along with her husband Nick, has operated this store for 4 years. She is vivacious, bubbly and quite knowledgeable about pairing the right oils with the right vinegar. She is passionate and enthusiastic about her store and one can even say she is an advocate for cooking. 




By the time we left the shop, Maine-ly Drizzle was firmly on my list for must-visits every time I'm in Maine: a nicely decorated store, charming ambiance, great owner/host and lovely products. But, if you can't get there in person, they have an extensive on-line store. Click below on the store name.

Maine-ly Drizzle:  2 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, ME -- (207) 204-0025. 


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An Intro to...Brooklyn - Not so DUMBO


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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.



This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).


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A great way to spend a weekend afternoon is in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. The name stands for Down Under the Manhattan/Brooklyn Overpass. It's the area between the Manhattan and Brookyn bridges.


Like most cities, NYC is very good at revitalizing spaces that seem useless. In between the cobble-stoned streets and alleys are boutiques, famed pizzerias, ice cream shops, rock climbing and even a "beach." 


If you're in Manhattan, you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Facing the water, the Brooklyn Br. will be to the left and the Manhattan will be to the right (the third bridge to the BMW trio is the Williamsburg, which is further uptown, to the right). 

Stroll along the waterfront taking in the small green spaces, the rocks along the shore, Pebble Beach, the playgrounds and the various vendors. Under the Manhattan bridge may be a flea market on Sundays. 

The famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is guaranteed to have long lines. Be patient or go up the street on Old Fulton Street and get some gelato. Your famous pizzerias will be along that street also. 


Stay a while or just a stroll (careful of the cyclists) and come to the borough that brags to be the home of the ancestors of ¼ of the USA's population. 



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

An Intro to...Paris - Pilgrimage to Giverny - Monet's Gardens

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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).


Purchase fine art prints and stock photography at: ZenfolioImageKindmcraytonphotoShutterstockDreamstimeiStock by Getty Images

5 Things to Know to Visit Monet's Gardens at Giverny, France

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Introduction: In 1883, Claude Monet, considered the Father of the Impressionist Movement, "retired" to the still small village of Giverny, near Vernon, in the Upper Normandy region of France, about 80km/50 miles from Paris. He eventually bought a lovely farm style house and designed and planted the gardens he would make famous through his paintings he created until his death in 1926. 

From his time until now, artists journey to Giverny to study, paint, visit or even live, inspired by Monet. The property was inherited by his son, who, in turn, bequeathed it to the Academie des Beaux-Artes in 1966. Restored, it was opened to the public in 1980: house, gardens, the famous water lily pond and, literally down the road, the Musee des Impressionnisme, none of which is covered by the Paris Museum Pass.


1. It doesn't matter what you see first, the gardens or his artwork. If you have seen any of Monet's works or you are fortunate to see the massive room-sized murals before you visit Giverny, this will be awesome. If you visit Giverny before you see any of the paintings, you will understand the inspiration. Either order is OK. 




2. Plan your trip carefully. Take the SCNF train from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Vernon. Planned train strikes are frequent and, in today's world, there are terrorist threats. Buy your round trip tickets on the day of your visit at the station. You can make a full day of it and you will want to. Don't forget to check the weather. 

Once you arrive in Vernon, before you get excited, immediately double check the timetable for the bus from Giverny to Vernon and the train back to Paris. 



3. It may be crowded. In fact, it's almost a guarantee. If you have really planned your trip, you can purchase tickets online. If not, get there very early (greatly advised), just grin and bear it and stand on the physical line and purchase your tickets. After that, you're on your way. 


4. If the gardens look familiar, it could be that you are probably looking at the original inspiration for botanical gardens throughout the world. The gardens will vary depending on the season. The famous lily pond may not be in bloom until May or June but it's impressive just the same. 

Monet planned for the fact that the lilies are not in bloom all the time and has plenty of trees, some benches and other flora for you to admire, including the famous Japanese bridge









5. Bring extra batteries to take photos. There are gardens, the house and other museums down the road from the house.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Live from NY: It's the SNL Exhibition

Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).

This blog is about the NBC comedy series, Saturday Night Live. All visual references to this show, including the logos, costume designs, characters, actors' likenesses, set designs, etc, are represented here purely as a news reporting informative blog and are copyrighted. The photos themselves are copyrighted by Marcia Crayton, 2016.

Saturday Night Live Exhibit Entrance
Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, at 417 5th Avenue, Manhattan, NYC
There are not too many people who are not familiar with the phrase, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night Live!" This line, usually within an opening sketch, starts one of the longest running comedy variety shows that is broadcast on NBC. Like many icons of American culture, it has amassed artifacts and generated interest amongst fans. The result: an exhibit, of course, presented by Premier Exhibitions. Currently, it is housed at 417 5th Ave at 37th Street. On a nice day, before or after you tour, walk up 5th Avenue to 42nd Street and enjoy Bryant Park or the NY Public Library. Head east on 42 Street and Grand Central Station awaits you.

When you enter (after purchasing a $29 ticket), you get the red carpet treatment. A video introduces the series (or reacquaints you), the doors open and you are on your way. 

SNL Exhibit Red Carpet
The Red Carpet to the SNL Exhibit

They start with the history of the show with the Lorne Michaels' desk and continues to introduce the Not Ready for Prime Time Players who entertained America starting in 1975. Those who watched then will smile while reminiscing looking at photos of the late Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, John Belushi, Phil Hartman and others.

The original Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
The famous staircase onto the set
The exhibit actually is a lot like the show: a planned, organized format that seems improvised. It takes you through the week of producing a show, starting with Monday and ending with Saturday. Along the way, you're introduced to writers, costumers, set constructors, directors, musicians, make-up artists, cue cards and of course, the talent in the form of actors, hosts and musical guests.
The board of the show's rundown.
"Video" table: imagine you're in the meeting of the staff as they prepare for the show.

One would expect original artifacts in the form of costumes, actual sets and props and the SNL exhibit does not fail to deliver. You will see scripts, mannequins wearing authentic costumes, a drafting table and the famous news desk. You are allowed to take photos and immerse yourself into the sets. Photos, obviously, are allowed.
Set designs

Model of the television studio and set
Wayne's World
Wayne's World set, with the famous "Jaws" shark

Throughout the exhibit, there are monitors with clips of sketches. This is where you can get your money's worth: viewing the entire loops of clips throughout the tour.

After you tour the gallery of costumes that includes outfits worn by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, see racks of costumes, view photos and remember the hundreds of musical guests, you can enter a mock-up of the control room. Sit at the desk and become the director and hear how a live broadcast would be.
Control Room

Watch the countdown clock in the control room and the next thing you know, you're be in a facsimile of Studio 8H, watching an abbreviated 15 minute version of the show, with projections coming from all sides. As each area is showing its portion of the show, watch the other areas and how the stage crew is setting up for the next skit. 

"Studio 8H"
In a classy turn, fittingly, there is a wall of All Credited Crew and resume photos of all the cast, some you will know who rose to higher fame as a result of being a cast member, some you may have never heard of and some famous folks you have not have known were ever on the show. Although SNL tends to hire unknowns, some actors with previous notoriety have been cast.

Eddie Murphy's famous Buckwheat costume
Take your picture from the famous "Weekend Update" news desk with your favorite anchor superimposed in the shot.
The ticket fee may be pricey: $29 for adults, $24 for seniors, $20 for children. But, you can spend at least 3 hours there if you read every caption, examine every artifact and linger at every monitor playing video clips. There is a gift shop, of course, accessible from the street without having to go to the exhibit. You can take your picture at the news desk with your choice of your favorite SNL anchor sitting in with you.

Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, 417 5th Avenue, near 37th Street, New York, NY.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Summer Road Trip 2015: World of Coca-Cola

Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).

All photos contained in this article are for the purposes of news reporting. These photos contain the logos of Coca-Cola and are trademarked and copyrighted by The Coca-Cola Company ©®.

World of Coca-Cola
World of Coca Cola, Atlanta, Georgia

After you have seen what Atlanta has to offer culturally and historically; after you have had your fill of either the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War and perhaps even Gone With The Wind, you will invariably find your way near Centennial Park and across to the exhibit/museum/greatest advertisement in the "person" of the World of Coca-Cola. 

John Pemberton statue
John Pemberton, the pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola

If you have not been to Atlanta since 2006, you will learn that the museum is no longer near Underground Atlanta (a shopping and entertainment district that has seen better days). Obviously, moving the World of Coca-Cola has affected the economy of the Underground, with more tourists now staying in the Centennial Park area. For some reason, the old building is still there, overgrown with trees, seemingly decaying.

Former World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta Underground
Former location, near the Atlanta Underground

The relocated museum is a tribute to Coca-Cola and its products of course, but it can also be seen as an extreme example of American capitalism, the power of advertising and it's influence throughout the world and the unique combination of business, entertainment and a part of the American way of life that is rivaled by other such corporations such as McDonald's, Disney and Apple, in my opinion. Whole industries have been built upon simple products (such as Hershey Park). You may be amazed at how the world of advertising clearly is woven into our way of life, dictating our wants and even our vacations. I wonder what international tourists think when they tour such a place.

Coca-Cola artifacts
All things Coca-Cola (registered trademark by The Coca-Cola Company)
But digressions aside, this is a fun place. The amount of memorabilia and artifacts is a history lesson in itself. Indeed, Coca-Cola is credited with our modern visual of Santa Claus. The popular artwork of the rotund, rosy-cheeked jolly fellow was immortalized largely based on Clement C. Moore's description in his poem " "Twas the Night Before Christmas," forever cementing the American personification of St. Nick (along with other previous illustrations). Along with the greeting card industry, the Coca-Cola Santa played a major influence in the commercialization of Christmas in America, for better or worse. Mr. Moore's description of Santa delivering toys added to the creation of the secular portion of the holiday. Throw in the 1947 motion picture, "Miracle on 34th Street," with a child in the court room pointing out Santa definitively, obviously based on Coca-Cola's drawing and gift giving now centered around the toy industry and you have the makings of numerous sociological studies about the American psyche.

Illustration of the Coca-Cola Santa
Santa Claus, as imagined by Coca-Cola (registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company)

Indeed, Coca-Cola seems in awe of itself and presents a fair account of its history, it's influences, even acknowledging its mistakes such as trying to change to formula of classic Coca-Cola. The company can be credited, along with Hallmark, McDonald's and Kodak, with changing the in-your-face style of television ads during the 1960's to the more subtle approach of the 1970's, with movie style cinematography, messages of peace, world love and family life through slogans, songs and campaigns presenting Coke as part of your life, part of your rites of passage, a member of the family. All of this is part of the museum, along with toys, clothing, and interactive exhibits.

Coca-Cola Polar Bear
Polar Bear, for your photo op (registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company)

There are what can be considered a few major highlights: the promise that you will see the vault where the original formula is kept, but that's all you see, is the vault, not the formula, which is supposedly inside, a photo op with the Polar Bear character and, the room with all of the flavors and products of the world. If this seems like deja-vu to Disney Epcot fans, it's no coincidence. You can slurp and burp your way around the world as you sample flavors of carbonated (and some not carbonated) drinks (not all cola flavors). Some are extremely sweet and a few taste like tonic water. At the end, before you exit through the obligatory gift shop where you ca get your fill of all items Coca-Cola, you are given a small bottle of the famous classic formula. Drink the soda and save the bottle, since the bottling location is considered important, sort of like where your money is minted.

Photo of the Vault
The Vault

If you read every line, examine every artifact, and pass through every gallery, including the room where decades of television ads are screened, you will get your $16 worth can you can conceivably be there for hours. I can imagine on a rainy day the crowds that must be there. 

World of Coca Cola, 121 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia. 1-800-676-COKE.