Thursday, 28 February 2013

Heartwarming winter recipes.

Hello , dear friends, I came across these two happy recipes this morning, and I would like to share them with you.
They both look heartwarming, perfect for winter evenings.

Tell, tell , if you ever made them.

Southern Pulled-Pork Sandwiches

Pork shoulder, a well-marbled cut available at most supermarkets, turns fork-tender after long, slow cooking. Ours is especially succulent with a spice rub and vinegar.

Smoky Corn Chowder

Smoky Corn Chowder

Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 20m
Total Time: 40m
  • 8  ounces  sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2  teaspoon  smoked paprika
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 2  10-ounce packages frozen corn
  • 3  cups  low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1  cup  half-and-half
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4  scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1  baguete, sliced and toasted (optional)
1. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, paprika, and red pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the corn, broth, and half-and-half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
6. Divide the soup among bowls and top with the scallions and bacon. Serve with bread, if desired.
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutritional Information
Calories 359; Calories From Fat 58%; Fat 23g; Sat Fat 9g; Cholesterol 41mg; Sodium 597mg; Protein 10g; Carbohydrate 32g; Fiber 6g; Sugar 20g

Happy Eating!
love, Irene

Monday, 25 February 2013

Michelle Obama's new style

Official portrait. Dress by Reed Krakoff .

As we slowly move our stuff from our old house and town to Athens, I find all kinds of little things I once treasured. And you know what? I still do!

After the frustration of "why did I bother buying this", the self-pitty and the guilt, I begin to give what once gave me smiles and happiness, a second chance.

A few days ago the kids found some memorabilia from President Obama's 2009 inauguration. I felt again the thrill of the election results, the hope that a new era, a "Yes, we can" time would rise above the US and why not, all of the world.

Inaugural ball gown by Jason Wu.

A beaker, a ruller, you get the picture. I might take a shot and "show and tell" you.

The other day I saw Mrs. O on TV. Do you like her new look? Me, hmm...yes and no. I kind of like her during the first term.

But then, I'm a conservative ;-)

As I am looking at her new look, because I can tell better by seeing her closer on the web, I found these pictures of her and the President that I like. Yeah, I think she grows in my tastes.

Much, much more confident, I think.
What do you think?

All images with thanks to Mrs.O.

love, Irene

First day of the week


A warm, heartfelt "Hello" to all of you my friends.
At this beginning of the week let us raise our eyes to the sky, let us take in the beauty that surounds us in every step.
The world is our palace, and every flower was made for us, every trea is heavy with fruit for us.
Let us breathe in the beauty.

Photo via IKEA

love, Irene

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Royal Birthday: Princess Estelle of Sweden turns 1

Today marks the first birthday of a sassy little princess,
from the fairytale northlands.
Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Duchess of Östergötland.

For her 1st birthday, princess Estelle sports the same dress that her mother, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was wearing at her age.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden aged one.
Happy Birthday Princess Estelle !
You are proof of that sense of continuity that only royalty can provide.

Photo source: Sveriges Kungahus.

love, Irene

Friday, 22 February 2013

Love you, Posh Victoria!

Posh Spice.
Too thin, too posh, too moody.
Stylish woman, working and loving mom.
Is she too lucky?
Does she have too much fun?
Well, live with it. She is.
Love you, Victoria.

love, Irene

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Mapping and Mentoring with Marney

Have you ever just wished someone could hand you a literal map...with all the steps and paths mapped out to get directly to your creative dream? That's exactly what happens in "Mapping and Mentoring with Marney", a dynamic business mentoring experience with Marney Makridakis from I think this program sounds fascinating and encourage you to take a look! Get info here!
Marney is the epitome of a Coach’s Coach: the ideal mentor who moves us where didn’t think we could go, the ultimate light force of intuition. I am so appreciative of her open, loving, non-judgmental approach and her deep knowledge and expertise as she holds the flame of deep belief for all of us. Thank you for being a true teacher, intuitive guide, fellow traveler and friend.

love, Irene

Monday, 18 February 2013

Planting, harvesting and your fair share

When there is scarcity, we worry a lot about getting our fair share—what goes to him doesn't go to me. The harvest becomes fraught with danger and competition.

When we worry more about planting, though, sharing the harvest gets a lot less complex.

Plant enough seeds and the scarcity eases. In fact, if you plant enough, you'll never have to think twice about the harvesting.

love, Irene

Strategies for Work-Life Balance

Hello dear friends,
To start the week with our best foot forward, I am sharing here a very interesting article I read on Oprah, about work life and home life.
let us be thankful for having a job to go to and let us pray that those who don't, may find a job to sustain them and their families.
(My own comments follow at the end of the article)

You have a work life. You have a home life. And you have, in all probability, forgotten how to keep them separate. Martha Beck discusses the importance of building a barrier between the way you make your living and the way you live.

The time has come to write. I feel this on an almost cellular level. Why? Because I'm sitting in my writing chair, wearing my writing glasses, chewing my writing gum. Now, I could sit in this chair, wear these glasses, and chew this gum while knitting tea cozies, juggling jelly beans, and husking corn (just not at the same time). But I wouldn't. See, I write at home, and I've learned the hard way that unless I strictly divide my writing time from everything else, my work bleeds into my home life. Then I can never relax, because, just like an ax murderer in a horror movie, my work is always lurking.

These days almost all of us work at home to some extent. Maybe you spend evenings brooding over spreadsheets from the office. Maybe you're in the house all day doing the hardest work imaginable: caring for the young, the old, or the ill. Or maybe, like me, you have a job—sort of—but no official physical workplace. All of which is to say that when I talk about "home" versus "work," I mean the activities that replenish your energy versus the ones that drain it. In an age when bleed-through is the new normal, it's more crucial than ever to separate the two. Here are some strategies that help me.

1. Establish a replenishing inner "state of home."

Some people spend years in an office cubicle without ever feeling the energetic involvement of real work; others do brilliant, inspired work without ever leaving their bed. This is because both work and home are first and foremost states of mind. So to begin separating your work life and home life, we'll concentrate on creating a mental "state of home" inside your head.

To do this, focus on memories that feel relaxing, nourishing, replenishing—in a word, homey. Remember baking with your grandmother, or talking with your sister, or snuggling in bed with a loved one (fabulous sex is an excellent way to feel at home, as is cuddling with your beloved collie—just not at the same time).

If you don't have many homey memories, your mental state of home may feel tepid at first. Persist! Remember the most comforting times and places you can: the branches of the tall tree where bullies couldn't reach you, Uncle Joe's bomb shelter, the warmest corner of the prison yard. (Ideally, you're looking for a sense of joyful replenishment, but happy relaxation is nearly as good, pleasant neutrality will do, familiar boredom is better than nothing, and defensible concealment—well, you get the idea.)

Once you come up with three memories that qualify, hold in mind the feelings they bring, while silently repeating, "Home. Home. Home."

2. Establish a productive inner "state of work."

If you're lucky, you do the kind of work that sparks your creativity and makes you want to meet its challenges. For me that work is writing: Although I find it hellishly hard, it's the first thing I turn to when I need to express myself or understand the world. I love its very difficulty.

Most of my clients, however, are work Nazis. They think they should force themselves to do things they loathe. If this is your mental "state of work," it's also the way you'll feel about your job, and it will follow you home—likely in the form of depression or rage. You absolutely must create a mental work state more like what psychologists call flow, the total absorption that comes from doing something that interests you at the upper edge of your ability level.

Even if your current job feels more like imprisonment than flow, you can still create a productive mental work state. Start by remembering any kind of effort that absorbed you enough to make time disappear. If after racking your brain nothing comes to mind, periods of interested problem solving will do nearly as well, and moments of productive effort will suffice in a pinch. Tedious repetition is as low as you want to go here (if your job is so awful that it doesn't yield even an hour of tolerable slog, it's time to hire a life coach). Now focus on the three best work activities you can remember, smoosh them together in your head, and silently repeat, "Work. Work. Work."

3. Use your mental states to create physical spaces.

The next step in keeping your work and home lives healthy and pristine is creating physical environments that support each side. Let's start with your homespace. Find the spot in your current domicile that best matches the feeling of your mental home state—a room, a corner, the box your refrigerator came in. Bring into this space any objects or beings that make it feel even homier. These may include your kids, your parakeet, your softest quilt, and your dog-eared copy of Fifty Shades of Grey (just not at the same time).

Next, use the same strategy to create a workspace, whether you're a full-time parent or a merchant marine. Find a space that—no pun intended—works for you, and bring in the people and things that make you feel productive: a fresh notebook, a team of coworkers, a mule. I myself am motivated by high-quality tools (anything from a fancy-schmancy computer to a hammer), absolute solitude, and of course my writing chair, writing glasses, and writing gum—the combination makes me itch to work. Whatever places, people, and things support your internal work state, gather them!

4. Separate your homespace from your workspace.

Once you've assembled a bunch of homey things in your homiest possible place, and a bunch of worky things in your workiest possible place, separate them like a Puritan chaperone dividing teenagers. Even if your office is 90 miles away from your house, some worky things will inevitably infiltrate your home—your job is to keep them out of your designated homespace. If you work in your house or apartment, you'll need to be extra vigilant. When you're not working, put all work-related things out of sight. Cover them with a sheet, if necessary.

By the same token, don't bring a lot of homey things into your workspace. Doing so will distract and confuse you. There's a reason service dogs mustn't be petted or played with when they're wearing their work vests: They need to be clear that they're on the job. But when the vests come off, service-dog owners must play with their animals in order to keep them from becoming exhausted and depressed. You're the same way: Having clear boundaries will help you work enthusiastically, then truly rest.

5. Actually use your homespace and workspace.

Only one thing now remains: time in the saddle. The more time you spend doing only homey things in your homespace and only worky things in your workspace, the more you'll develop the state-dependent memory that will trigger the associations you want in either place. When you enter your homespace, you'll automatically relax, effortlessly dropping effort and negative office juju. (If the urge to think or talk about work arises, note it, then picture it evaporating like steam.) And when it's time to work, the genuine R&R you've enjoyed will help everything you do feel more like flow.

6. Watch the Zen master in you emerge.

If you don't find this exercise helpful, you're certainly free to keep day-trading while nursing your twins, or stacking paperwork on every surface in your home, including the oven racks. But I think if you experiment with the methods I've described, you'll come to appreciate them. One definition of Zen is simply "doing one thing at a time"—which goes a long way toward explaining why Zen masters look so calm and live so long. I want you to love going to work, and to love being home. Just not at the same time.

Article by Martha Beck and illustration from here.

May I add that it helps alot being present, living in the present moment.
If you work, you work. It is no use to think of the chores you left behind. focus on the task on hand.
For me it is also essential to spend some time with objects and actions not related to business, even not related to home and family.
Do something for yourself every day:
Wake up 15 min earlier thatn usual and
read a prayer or psalm,
have a lazy breakfast ,
or make a mood board using the latest magazines,
your kind of thing that nurishes your personal needs.
Most of all,
enjoy Life and
Be Thankful to God
for another beautiful morning that you are blessed to see.

love, Irene

You like my pins?

U like my pins?
So glad you do!
There are so many things, so much beauty,
so many colours, peaceful or envigorating to inspire us every moment.
So, keep pinning with me and share all that is beautiful.
What goes around comes around :-)
Here are some of your favorite repins from my boards.

{This is from my garden in the old house. }

Source: via Irene on Pinterest

Source: via Irene on Pinterest

As for your favorite boards, they are Elegance, Food Glorious Food and In the Garden.
Leave me a comment and tell me which are your favorites!
love, Irene


Friday, 15 February 2013

Valentine's Weekend Ideas

Why keep to one day of red and pink celebrations? The weekend is round the corner. So, let us make some hearty treats for the loves of our lives inspired by The Valentines, at the ease of a weekend.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies which you can cut into 16 2-inch squares, 25 smaller squares, 32 2×1-inch bites or a mess of hearts from a cookie cutter.


1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste)
3 tablespoons heavy cream


3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour
Make caramel: Set a square of parchment paper over a medium-sized plate. Lightly butter or coat the parchment with a spray oil, just as an added security measure.
In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper color; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.
Pour out onto parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes in a decent freezer to 40 minutes in my terrible one.
Meanwhile, or when your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies: Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.
Assemble brownies: When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly — a process that can be hastened in the freezer, which will also produce cleaner cuts — and cut into squares or other desired shapes.

Read the fully illustrated post at Smitten Kitchen where you will find a great selection of homemade delicacies.


Valentine's Heart Necklace

I'd love a string of hearts in pastels or a cluster of pendant hearts to wear over summer dresses, too.
A beautiful craft that can be adapted for so many occasions.

See the illustrated tutorial in the oh so fun blog of Jillian in Italy.
Start a Collection
I loved collecting cards, napkins and stickers as a young girl. Who knew the love of one person for Valentine's cards could be housed one day in a Museum or a Library? New York public Library has a Valentine's card collection from Victorian to the crazy 80s. Read more at Design Sponge.

And start your own collection. Anything goes as long as it pleases the eye, brings a smile to your face and you look forward to diving into it.

love, Irene


Weekend::to think about::

Clash of cultures

What motivates us to work? We know from an early age that we have to work as adults, and we find our way into jobs one way or another, some through years of education and some not. How much time do we really spend thinking about it?

Many of us don’t get to know ourselves, or have the opportunity to try out numerous jobs, before we really need to “make a living.” We choose a job, or a field, and we enter an enculturation process either in school or in the workplace. The culture we absorb becomes a motivation itself: We learn a vocabulary, way of thinking, norms, even habits of thinking, often without realizing it or taking time to reflect. Some may relish the process and enjoy having a niche, others may experience a bit of unease, a sense of something missing depending on the fit with the culture.

Some professions, such as medicine or social services, possess a strong culture, one the employee has to embrace to some extent to excel in the field. My father said medical school was like boot camp, a challenging experience in which his own ego and perspective were subordinated to the process of becoming a doctor. He worked so hard for so long, was sometimes belittled, and he became one with his role, demonstrating decisiveness and as much clarity as possible to treat illness and perform surgery in a capable way.

Many of us are unknowingly brainwashed by a worldview, unaware of the underpinnings and influences forming that perspective, not possessing the tools with which to question or examine. For some darn reason, not completely known to me, I have stood on the outside and asked questions. While I had an interest in psychology in college, studying it raised more questions than it answered, so I asked my favorite professor to recommend books on the history of the field, because studying it made me uncomfortable, and I wondered why.

I think we need to stay alert, to ask questions as we learn a field and after we are in it. To develop our own perceptions and to participate in ongoing inquiry with peers and supervisors. But generally we are not encouraged to follow our hunches, to turn inside, to question, or even to dialogue with others in our fields. We instead become absorbed into the work, the money, starting a family, building security for that family and ourselves. But I believe there is a place for curiosity.

I have long conversations with a friend who teaches a contemplative education course at a university and is a sometime psychotherapist herself. She teaches in a scholars’ program populated by pre-med students, future scientists and engineers, future writers. She encourages the students to examine their assumptions, to consider their personal relationship to the subjects they study, to explore the underpinnings and influences on the professions they are considering entering. Some of the students are resistant to her proddings in this class, at least at first. The pre-med student is a bright, busy, focused fellow, or gal, who usually embraces a belief in the medical model, says my friend. She does not ask them to let go of that belief, only to be circumspect, and many find themselves immensely grateful for the process of internal and philosophical inquiry she guides them through. While some see no use for the process, others tell my friend they will go to med school as more sensitive, well-rounded humans.

My friend herself is examining the mental health field, from psychoanalysis to psychopharmacology, as a consumer, professional, and researcher. She has experienced ill effects from medications and explored alternatives from re-attachment to ayurvedic herbs and diets to yoga and dance. You could say she is a renegade academic and psychotherapist.

A person awake to her own emotions, adventurous in her intellectual pursuits, and brave enough to ask questions, is a different kind of professional. Rather than immersing herself in a culture and system of thought, she remains a sensitive individual with an ability to respond to situations from within her self.

The book, The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down, is about the clash of the Hmong people’s needs and beliefs with that of the Western medical system. It is about the damage that can occur when two strong belief systems meet. I was struck by a story in the book about a young Western enthnographer and fan of improvisational theater who is able to appreciate and understand the Hmong peoples’ perspective on illness and their resistance to the imposition of Western ways upon them. He learns about them and their beliefs and is able to encourage them to get immunizations for their pets through staging a theatrical parade.

What made him sensitive to these people, capable of understanding their perspective? Was he less enamored of the Western view he was born into? Was he secure enough in himself to open his mind?

I have been immersed in this very process throughout my life: I studied psychology but wanted to know where it came from, I was interested in medicine but had the mind and heart of an anthropologist. I’m not sure why I am like this. I think it may be feeling close to nature most of my life, through listening to old-time music as a young child and driving through inner-city DC with my dad on his way to work, through reading black authors from off my parents’ bookshelves. I knew there were other ways of thinking about things than mine, other cultures and races, varied spiritual paths.

My role is that of an amateur ethnographer, a student of work cultures. I make my living as a yoga teacher and writer, and I work various part-time jobs along the way. It is a grand adventure, and I am grateful to share it with friends like my university teacher buddy. This is my enduring question: Can we not work from our authentic selves in ways that make sense to us and are healing to the world? We must let the world change us, but sometimes we need to change it.


Why little black books instead of phones and computers

“Despite being a denizen of the digital world, or maybe because he knew too well its isolating potential, Jobs was a strong believer in face-to-face meetings.” That’s from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. It’s a strange way to begin a post about notebooks, but Jobs’ views on the power of a potentially anachronistic practice applies to other seemingly anachronistic practices. I’m a believer in notebooks, though I’m hardly a luddite and use a computer too much.

The notebook has an immediate tactile advantage over phones: they aren’t connected to the Internet. It’s intimate in a way computers aren’t. A notebook has never interrupted me with a screen that says, “Wuz up?” Notebooks are easy to use without thinking. I know where I have everything I’ve written on-the-go over the last eight years: in the same stack. It’s easy to draw on paper. I don’t have to manage files and have yet to delete something important. The only way to “accidentally delete” something is to leave the notebook submerged in water.

A notebook is the written equivalent of a face-to-face meeting. It has no distractions, no pop-up icons, and no software upgrades. For a notebook, fewer features are better and fewer options are more. If you take a notebook out of your pocket to record an idea, you won’t see nude photos of your significant other. You’re going to see the page where you left off. Maybe you’ll see another idea that reminds you of the one you’re working on, and you’ll combine the two in a novel way. If you want to flip back to an earlier page, it’s easy.

The lack of editability is a feature, not a bug, and the notebook is an enigma of stopped time. Similar writing in a computer can function this way but doesn’t for me: the text is too open and too malleable. Which is wonderful in its own way, and that way opens many new possibilities. But those possibilities are different from the notebook’s. It’s become a cliche to argue that the technologies we use affect the thoughts we have and the way we express those thoughts, but despite being cliche the basic power of that observation remains. I have complete confidence that, unless I misplace them, I’ll still be able to read my notebooks in 20 years, regardless of changes in technology.

In Distrust That Particular Flavor, William Gibson says, “Once perfected, communication technologies rarely die out entirely; rather, they shrink to fit particular niches in the global info-structure.” The notebook’s niche is perfect. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Moleskine racks have proliferated in stores at the same time everyone has acquired cell phones, laptops, and now tablets.

In The Shallows, Nicholas Carr says: “The intellectual ethic is the message that a medium or other tool transmits into the minds and culture of its users.” Cell phones subtly change our relationship with time. Notebooks subtly change our relationship with words and drawings. I’m not entirely sure how, and if I were struggling for tenure in industrial design or psychology I might start examining the relationship. For now, it’s enough to feel the relationship. Farhad Manjoo even cites someone who studies these things:

“The research shows that the type of content you produce is different whether you handwrite or type,” says Ken Hinckley, an interface expert at Microsoft Research who’s long studied pen-based electronic devices. “Typing tends to be for complete sentences and thoughts—you go deeper into each line of thought. Handwriting is for short phrases, for jotting ideas. It’s a different mode of thought for most people.” This makes intuitive sense: It’s why people like to brainstorm using whiteboards rather than Word documents.

I like to write in notebooks despite carrying around a smartphone. Some of this might be indicative of the technology I grew up with—would someone familiar with smartphone touchscreens from age seven have sufficiently dexterous fingers to be faster than they would be with paper?—but I think the obvious answer to “handwriting or computer?” is “both, depending.” As I write this sentence, I have a printout of a novel called ASKING ANNA in front of me, covered with blue pen, because editing on the printed page feels different to me than editing on the screen. I write long-form on computers, though. The plural of anecdote is not data. Still, I have to notice that using different mediums appears to improve the final work product (insert joke about low quality here).

There’s also a shallow and yet compelling reason to like notebooks: a disproportionate number of writers, artists, scientists, and thinkers like using them too, and I suspect that even contemporary writers, artists, scientists, and thinkers realize that sometimes silence and not being connected is useful, like quiet and solitude.

In “With the decline of the wristwatch, will time become just another app?”, Matthew Battles says:

 Westerners have long been keenly interested in horology, as David Landes, an economic historian, points out in Revolution in Time, his landmark study of the development of timekeeping technology. It wasn’t the advent of clocks that forced us to fret over the hours; our obsession with time was fully in force when monks first began to say their matins, keeping track of the hours out of strict religious obligation. By the 18th century, secular time had acquired the pressure of routine that would rule its modern mode. Tristram Shandy’s father, waiting interminably for the birth of his son, bemoans the “computations of time” that segment life into “minutes, hours, weeks, and months” and despairs “of clocks (I wish there were not a clock in the kingdom).” Shandy’s father fretted that, by their constant tolling of the hours, clocks would overshadow the personal, innate sense of time—ever flexible, ever dependent upon mood and sociability.

The revolution in electronic technology is wonderful in many ways, but its downsides—distraction, most obviously—are present too. The notebook combats them. Notebooks are an organizing or disorganizing principle: organizing because one keeps one’s thoughts, but disorganizing because one cannot rearrange, tag, and structure thoughts in a notebook as one can on a screen (Devonthink Pro is impossible in the real world, and Scrivener can be done but only with a great deal of friction).

 Once you try a notebook, you may realize that you’re a notebook person. You might realize it without trying. If you’re obsessed with this sort of thing, see Michael Loper / Rands’ Sweet Decay, which is better on validating why a notebook is important than evaluating the notebooks at hand. It was also written in 2008, before Rhodia updated its Webbie.

Like Rands, I’ve never had a sewn binding catastrophically fail. As a result, notebooks without sewn bindings are invisible to me. I find it telling that so many people are willing to write at length about their notebooks and use a nominally obsolete technology.
EDIT: See also Kevin Devlin’s The Death of Mathematics, which is about the allure of math by hand, rather than by computer; though I don’t endorse what he says, in part because it reminds me so much of Socrates decrying the advent of written over oral culture, I find it stimulating.

read more here

Weekend::to think about::
is a collection of words and images that made me look twice this past week
and I want to think about for awhile.

Feel free to share yours. Leave a comment to let us know.

love, Irene

How to organize and print a year's worth of pictures

Do you have shoe boxes full of photographs? Do you daydream about organizing them in beautiful books with the perfect caption written in calligraphy undrneath?
Digital is even worse. There are thousands of photographs that we are afraid might go missing in cyberspace that we never get around puting into print.
Well, the other day i found and I am sharing it here with you, the most perfect, down to earth, understanding tutorial on how to organize your photos step by step.

Find the full tutorial at

love, Irene

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Costa Navarino Hotel: I can see LOVE!

Few miles offshore from Costa Navarino Resort one of the most beautiful hotels built in Greece in recent years, you will find yourselves at a naturally curved romantic islet surrounded by heavenly turquoise blue waters.
One more reason to visit Greece.
Nature in Love!
Happy Valemtine's Day!

love, Irene 

Best buys