THE CABIN.

Almost every summer since I was 16, I've spent a week or two at my dad's cabin on the Sacandaga in upstate New York. He summered in a nearby area when he was a kid and now he has a piece of property on the water to call his own. What the "town" lacks in ethnic food + cellphone service, they make up for in fresh eggs, blueberry picking, and ice-cold lake water.

As I mentioned before when I created the montage of my trip to Italy last March (view here), I will now be vacationing and documenting my travels with the intention of creating a low-quality movie to go along with them. Hope you enjoy my third attempt.

GLIMPSE OF ITALY THROUGH MY CAMERA.

I went to Italy with my two best girlfriends since the 6th grade ( that's over 15 years of best friendship with Ann & Jessica ) and I'm commemorating the trip with a less than adequate video montage of our travels. 

This is not professional footage and I'm not a pro-editor so don't judge too harshly, but I'll admit that this was a fun project to work on. I've always been an avid photographer, but I think I might be switching my camera to video mode more often now.

Don't worry - I won't quit my day job, but I may waste some hours on cutting together nonsense movies when I should be sleeping. Special thanks to Ann for shooting the 4-5 seconds of footage that includes me so it looks like I was on the trip too.

Ciao Italy.

I've got travel on the mind. In less than 2 months, I will be heading to Italy for a week of eating & exploring. My biggest fear when traveling abroad is being wrongly accused of a crime I didn't commit and ending up in a foreign prison (i.e. lots of real life examples + Brokedown Palace which I've never seen - didn't need to - got the story in my nightmares). 

My second biggest fear is accidentally dining in restaurants that I think are authentic, but are actually closer to being the European version of Applebee's.

Have you been to Italy? If so, save me some stress and bestow upon me your suggestions for things to see / EAT / do / EAT / visit / EAT.

(( photo credit ))

Scholten & Baijings.

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On a recent trip to the Chicago Institute of Art, I was quick to decide that my favorite exhibit was by Dutch design duo Scholten & Baijings in the Architecture and Design wing. Their use of color and geometric pattern play creates my perfect aesthetic.

There was something about their palette and designs that was reminiscent of some rugs and linens I had been coveting recently and, upon a second glance, I saw that they are also products of Scholten & Baijings.

Guess I have a type.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I realized my dream of visiting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry recently and, if you know me in any capacity, you know how much this means to me.

I love me the Harry Potter.

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Although it is darn near close to perfect in every way, the magic of the experience dissolves when you have 200 muggles in your photos of the Honeydukes' shop window. Fortunately, this can all be solved with a simple solution that my brother and I came up with while complaining in front of the owl post next to Ollivander's. 

Upon entering the Hogsmeade city limits, everyone must don a cloak. Of course, you are more than welcome to dress from head to toe in wizard appropriate attire - I'm certainly not going to stop you, but for the less dedicated just cover up those tank tops and cut-offs with a full length black cloak...and maybe a hat if you have especially muggle-looking hair.

There's the tiny hitch of it being located in Orlando which is basically the equivalent of living on the Sun during most of the year (and a black cloak seems like the least obvious choice in such temperatures), but I'm sure that can be remedied with a couple of billion dollar snow machines (small price to pay for authenticity) which was my only other point of contention. I can't fully enjoy the snow covered majesty of the Hogwarts' rooftop when I'm sweating like a Slytherin in church.

Surprisingly the one thing that I expected to disappoint did not - the Butterbeer. Sure, one could argue that everything tastes better when it's on draft at the Hog's Head Pub with a view of Gryffindor tower, but I'm pretty sure this actually tasted good. If you want to experience your own but can't make it to the heart of one of our country's least favorite states - then just follow this recipe. I swear on Godric Gryffindor's sword that it tastes as if Madam Rosmerta served it herself. But I can't do anything about getting you a giant turkey leg. You're on your own.

And pour one out for Fred Weasley while you're there.

 

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Disney World.

"After Disney World, everything is like garbage." - Eli, 8 years old

  Magic Kingdom / October 2013 / Happiest Place on Earth

Magic Kingdom / October 2013 / Happiest Place on Earth