Summer Dreams

What is it about this time of year that draws one outdoors? Early this morning I took my coffee and camera outside to listen to the neighborhood awaken in the cool crisp air. As I focused on taking photos of the newly bloomed Asian Lilies, squirrels jumped from tree to tree. At first, I thought it was a huge buck walking through the woods or a rather large man, but after focusing on the area where branches were falling, I saw the furry tails of these creatures chasing one another. After lining up a few floral shots, I picked up my coffee and began dreaming of the perfect summer, which by coincidence starts with a morning like this…NO HUMIDITY and temps down to 46 degrees.

I usually take to creating the perfect escape during lengthy meetings at work, and begin drafting vacations in margins of notes or on the computer. First and foremost I must be near water. Its the perfect place to start the day with a morning swim, then to end the day after sightseeing. To be gliding through the water for an evening swim is absolute luxury!

As my needs are simple next on the list, its about finding bakeries and bistros with fabulous desserts or treats. Tony took this photo while in downtown Rio last week of a tart and cappuccino at Columbio Confectionary. And, margarita’s to martini’s are always on the agenda.

Lastly, what reverie can end without flowers. These beautiful lilies were from the early morning photo-shoot, where my focus during warmer months are always on growing and procuring blooms to have on the desks at work, and in vases around Heath.

As summer approaches, remember to stay stylish,

A Day in the Orient

Rainy days and Mondays…. what a perfect combination for taking a day off from work. Last weekend our time at Heath was spent dealing with leaks alongside the roof and fireplace. Rain can take its toll by putting a damper on activities so, gardening, planting and barbecuing were completely …. if you’ll pardon the pun…. “a wash out”!!!

After painstakingly repairing the roof and doing a lot of clean-up it was now time to report back to work. I wasn’t having it, and needed an entire day off so, I headed to the District to find where Asia meets America. First stop was to the Freer/Sackler Galleries to see the Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644-1912.

The focus on the last imperial dynasty of China {Qing} is on the primary duties of the empress or consort to the emperor. For 268 years the male officials who wrote court history recorded virtually nothing about the accomplishments of these women. To unlock the hidden aspects of their lives we must examine the materials goods they possessed such as attire, furnishings, portraits and devotional objects.

The East Glorious Gate to the Palace of Longevity and Health.

Empress Dowager Cixi {1835-1908} is arguably the most powerful empress in Chinese history, who dominated the court and policies for nearly fifty years.
Every aspect of imperial dining was splendidly planned from the taste of food to the containers used to hold delicacies and the cups for drinking. Lidded cup and lobed tray with phoenixes and peonies- Qianlong period {1736-95}

Fine dining on the road- Empress Dowager Chongqing spent tem months of each year living outside the Forbidden City. She made nearly thirty trips to Chengde, an imperial resort north of Beijing . This lacquer with gold on wood was portable tableware for elegant dining.– And an Ewer with dragons and clouds made of gold alloy.

I do not think I have ever had boots on in May, it was pouring rain and the wind kicked up to about 25-30 mph.

Staying in theme we headed to Graces Mandarin restaurant at the National Harbor for a delicious lunch of Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Crab Fried Rice and a crisp cold glass of Santori Pinot Grigio.

Stay stylish,