31 December 2016

GIG to JFK

A.C. and I were ready to return to New York City. We missed our house and cooking for ourselves. The American flight out of GIG was empty, and we claimed multiple rows. Coach felt like first class. Never had ten hours in the air been more pleasant. With the windows covered, there were no signs of our risen altitude. The plane was quiet with the exception of the circulating air. We bade Rio farewell and enjoyed the luxury of a good night's sleep. 
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Rio, Goodnight and Goodbye
M.J.C.

30 December 2016

The Peak of Mount Corcovado

Cristo Redentor looms over Corcovado Mountain. One of the seven wonders of the modern world, Rio's icon is beloved by locals. We traveled to the base of the art deco structure by van. Like the number of clouds engulfing the statue, the quantity of people in the crowd was abundant. The view from the middle of the rainforest was clouded by mist and light rain.  
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The view from the top of Corcovado Mountain
M.J.C.

Samba in Rio

While the idea of attending Carnaval at Sambódromo Marquês de Sapucaí in February was appealing, the samba show at Leblon's Plataforma was a safer option. The Brazilian dance has African roots and an infectious spirit. We were delighted to have been invited to the party. The headresses worn by the women resembled birds-of-paradise. We joined the celebration with attentive eyes and rhythm in our feet. 
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The samba show at Plataforma is underway.
M.J.C.

28 December 2016

Breakfast on Floor 26

Breakfast is served on the 26th floor of the Sheraton Leblon. L’Etoile, the hotel’s French restaurant host the traditional, early-morning affair. Guests may enjoy North American classics from omelets to champagne before the venue turns fully français. Successfully seeking out good breakfast abroad is cause for celebration. It is too early for champagne, but a bottle is chilled in case a toast proves opportune. O. removes our plates, and we linger to admire the beach below. Our sentiment is reflected in the view of the serene ocean.

Breakfast at the Sheraton Leblon


M.J.C.

27 December 2016

To the Peak of Pão de Açúcar

The best views in Rio are seen from a high altitude. Thus, we considered Pão de Açúcar a summit to be conquered. Although the cable cars took the strain out of the ascent, we were full of adventure nonetheless. Our group of English, Portuguese, and Spanish speakers moved as a single unit from sea level to Morro da Urca to the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain. The company was good, and the spirits were high on the journey up. As Botafogo Bay and Copacabana Beach appeared in panorama, the mist rolled in from all sides. 
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Pão de Açúcar as seen from Morro da Urca
M.J.C.

19 December 2016

Viewing Vidigal

The favela of Vidigal sits at the base of Morro Dois Irmãos. While the term "favela" brings to mind characteristics of a slum, we perceive the neighborhood as pacified. Residents maintain daily routines without threats of violence or drug lords. Unlike most of the dwellings in the two hills, the houses along our Estrada do Vidigal are appropriately spaced and a short distance to the beach on foot. The majority of residences in Vidigal are located higher up the rock formation, inconvenient to the water's edge. We imagine ourselves traversing a mountain of steps and dipping roads with books and other items purchased outside of the favela. We do not foresee the feat being successful without the assistance of a motorcycle taxi. Nevertheless, we would probably carry one item up the hill at a time in the name of self-sufficiency. 
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The View of Vidigal from the Sheraton Leblon
M.J.C.

12 December 2016

The Sheraton Leblon by Day

The Sheraton in Leblon is our lifeline in Rio. A.C. and I considered it our second home in the seaside city for the services and food it affords us. Every afternoon we descend the steps from of our primary house on Estrada do Vidigal, crossing Avenida Niemeyer. We proceed directly to Casa Da Cachaça for lunch. The pool and the ocean beyond can be seen from the terrace of the restaurant, where we sit in wooden chairs. The red and white checkered tablecloths covering the dark wooden tables remind me of Tuscany. But the presence of a marmoset, a species native to South America, in a nearby tree brings me back to Brazil. Salad and pizza become our traditional lunch requests. Since food enjoyed on vacation does not count, there is no such thing as consuming too much pizza. After our first daily visit to Cachaça, we take up cobalt blue chairs by the edge of the ocean. The water rolls as we observe the horizon. The sea air and ease of good conversation send us to sleep.
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M.J.C.

09 December 2016

To Rio We Go

The airline options for travel between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were limited. We asked A.L. for advice on which company would ensure our safe arrival. Azul, named after my favorite color, won our votes. Our goal was to arrive in Rio in the least traumatic manner and within one hour. The flight was prompt, but the experience was not without its shortcomings.  The plane was small, and the trip was shaky. I prepared for danger by saying a prayer, holding my breath, and curling into a ball. The attendant offered water. A.C. accepted our drinks with the hand that was free of my grasp. I was relieved to land at SDU. The driver greeted us with a sign bearing our names. Rio began to reveal itself as we moved towards Leblon. 

To Rio We Go

M.J.C.

30 November 2016

São Paulo versus Vasco at Morumbi Stadium

The five of us joined the droves of Paulistas en route to Estádio do Morumbi. The 20-minute walk down Avenida Jorge João Saad was a festival of sustenance and good cheer. Although we had enjoyed lunch in the food court of the nearby Butantã mall, the excitement and refreshments for sale on the roadside put snacks in the forefront of my mind. A.C. dissuaded me from buying provisions out of a stranger's trunk. The crowd moved south in an orderly fashion, although many pedestrians took to the street. The pavement was slanted, but I deemed walking with motor traffic exponentially dangerous. Thus, I stayed within the boundaries of the curb. 

The path to the stadium was lined with educational establishments. The presence and variety of schools were characteristic of sophisticated Morumbi. I was taken by the neighborhood on our initial drive past several beautiful residences. Our journey to the game had afforded me the opportunity to explore the district on foot while dreaming up a hypothetical future in the metropolis. 


We would live in Morumbi. Our child-to-be would attend Colégio Miguel de Cervantes, a Spanish international school. From what we could tell, the grounds were massive and green. Baby C. would be given his obligatory dose of Spanish and opportunities to exercise with his peers. Aerobics of the body and mind would put the child to bed by 18:46. We would rise at 6:00; I am a morning person in my dreams. The three of us would gather with A.L. and M.L. on Sundays in the countryside.


The thought of having to part with our friends, especially after waiting years to reunite, weighed on me, and I was in denial about our impending separation. But the memories of our moments together could not be taken away. The next instant, the game was upon us: São Paulo versus Vasco. I dressed in red, the color of the home team. The red sea, in which we swam was united. It cheered, chanted, and swore as one. A.C. and I assimilated, picking up some Portuguese in the process. The passion of our fellow Paulistas was infectious, inviting, and beckoned us to stay.

São Paulo versus Vasco at Morumbi Stadium

M.J.C.

28 November 2016

Theatro Municipal

Theatro Municipal comes into view as we cross the Viaduto do Chá on foot. M.L. says the building is haunted, but A.C. and I do not comprehend her claim right away. We do not know the Portuguese word for “haunted” and M.L.’s pronunciation of the word ghost sound more like “go-shhhhhhh.” Since the goal of conversing in another language is to be understood, M.L. continues with her English, and we enter into a game resembling charades. As we approach the viaduct’s center, M.L. raises her arms to her sides and says “woooooooo.” A.C. and I, realizing the essence of her story, survey the upstairs windows of the structure as we approach. The three of us ascend the steps in search of tickets for tonight’s show. I begin to lay out my evening attire in my head, but cease when I find myself unaccompanied in my plan to see Wagner's Lohengrin.
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M.J.C.

23 November 2016

The Grounds of Museu Paulista

The grounds of Museu Paulista, situated in the center of Parque da Independência, are manicured and express a sentiment of grandness. The fence surrounding the museum barred us from ascending the steps; the institution had closed its doors for renovations. In Brazil, it is difficult to determine construction end dates with accuracy. A.L., versed in matters of unfinished undertakings in São Paulo's proximity, educated us on this common practice. Although the signage conveyed a message that the site would reopen in the future, we were filled with doubt. The yellow-tinted structure longed to be restored to working order. In the intervening period, we amused ourselves by inventing a plan to take up residence in the building. We plotted while strolling along the facade's north side, and divided our house into thirds among the four of us. A.L. and M.L., residing permanently in the metropolis, claimed the west wing and the main block. A.C. and I reserved the east wing for our periodic excursions to Brazil.
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M.J.C.

19 November 2016

Pizzaria by Night

São Paulo overflows with pizzarias. The name of our adopted restaurant is Charles (Av. José Maria Whitaker, 1785 - Planalto Paulista), in honor of Chaplin.  I am uncertain if any parallels can be drawn in the comparison of Charlie with this Italian dish. The great presence of Italians in Brazil may account for the abundance of pizzarias in the country's most populous city. Charles serves every pizza imaginable, include that of the sweet variety. The waiters circulate the dining room carrying round, silver trays. Goiabada and queijo-de-minas are the most Brazilian of toppings. Referred to as “Romeo and Juliet” when paired together, the combination is enchanting like the city at night. 

To the São Paulo Pizzaria

M.J.C.

15 November 2016

Brigadeiro at Brigaderia

We took a break from the crowds on Paulista Avenue by detouring to Pátio Paulista for brigadeiro. Brigaderia, an establishment devoted to purveying this Brazilian confection, is tucked away on the basement level of the mall. A.C. and I notified the shop associate of our selections. We chose a few different types of chocolate in the mold of a truffle and a dish of lemon cake served with warm brigadeiro in liquid form. We were surprised to find that the recipe for brigadeiro is simple:
  1. Combine 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, 1 (or 2, if desired) tablespoons of butter, and 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Set on medium heat and stir until thickened (approximately 5-8 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract, if desired. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Form into small balls with butter-coated hands. 
  5. To add sophistication, roll on toppings such as chocolate sprinkles or shaved almonds, and place in a small truffle wrapper. Brigadeiro may be chilled until ready to serve. 
Brigaderia afforded us the opportunity to savor variations on this classic recipe. It is a sentimental sweet to Brazilians, with endless possibilities and opportunities to create. M.L. packed two cans of condensed milk in our suitcase. 
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M.J.C.


14 November 2016

Seeing Praça da Sé

We enjoy the view of Praça da Sé from the top of the steps of Catedral da Sé. The park, formerly named Largo da Sé, is the center of São Paulo. The palm trees lining the promenade provide shade from the sun. In the borough of Sé, history collides with the urban characteristics of the metropolis. Pátio do Colégio, the site of the city's founding, is a six-minute walk to the north. Walking to the extensive Mercado Municipal would require a mere fifteen minutes more. The square is notable, not only for its existence during the colonial period, but also for its role in Brazil's recent history. Several demonstrations of the Diretas Já movement, which called for direct presidential elections, occurred here in 1984. Consequently, a new Federal Constitution was adopted in 1988. The following year, the first direct presidential election since 1960 was realized.
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M.J.C.

10 November 2016

Around the Monumento à Independência do Brasil

A.L. left the three of us standing at the Monumento à Independência do Brasil while he retrieved the car. The spring weather in São Paulo varies between an oven and an ice box. On the day of our visit to the Parque da Independência, the heat veered into cooking an egg on the sidewalk territory. M.L., A.C., and I took a turn around the monument. As A.C. and I  rounded the western side, a Paulista began speaking to us in Portuguese. M.L., the only Brazilian in our current party of three was somewhere in the vicinity but out of earshot. We answered the friendly stranger with smiles. M.L. entered the scene as a translator. The conversation addressed the topic of the heat. I found the stranger’s assumption that A.C. and I were Brazilian to be fascinating.  The country is diverse and we fit right in.
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M.J.C.

04 November 2016

Reuniting in São Paulo

A.C. and I had relied on Skype and the old-fashioned post to communicate with our Brazilian friends for six years. When opportunity presented itself, we flew to São Paulo specifically to reunite. Our flight landed at Guarulhos International at an indecent morning hour. The pedestrian runway led us from the terminal, past the shops, and to the pick up point outside. The airport and the night air were still. The plethora of unoccupied seats inside extended an invitation, which we kindly accepted. I do not recall how many minutes it took for A.L. and M. to find us in the newly installed wing of GRU. But I do remember the combination of excitement and serenity I felt at our embrace. They were the same, and so were we.

Buenos Aires to São Paulo

M.J.C.

31 October 2016

Chocolate and Chandon at Voulez Bar

Dinner ends but the night continues at Voulez Bar. The intersection of República Arabe Siria and Boulevard Cerviño is lively with porteños enjoying themselves on the pavements of Palermo. We adore the waiters' sense of humor and the French flair of the dimly-lit bar. The linear, symmetrical stained glass of the windows, the white, wrought iron railings, and the sleek silverware convey a sensible combination of history and modernity. We order a chocolate volcano with fruit and ice cream. I ask if credit card is an accepted form of payment. To my dismay, Voulez Bar is a cash only establishment, and I shudder at the thought of having to leave prematurely. A.C. reassures me that we have enough cash. The waiter pops a bottle of Chandon and pours two glasses. The bubbles rise and I feel completely at home in Buenos Aires.
Chandon at Voulez Bar
M.J.C.    

28 October 2016

The Words of Eva Perón

The tomb of Eva Perón must be the most visited site in the Cementerio de la Recoleta. In life, she was a powerful speechmaker, persuasive and bold in her delivery. Eva, fascinating and charismatic, enchanted her audience through the spoken and written word. She directed the loyalty and emotions of the working class to her husband Juan Perón at a Peronist rally on la Avenida 9 de Julio on 17 October 1951. “The enemies of Perón and of the country have known for a long time that Perón and Eva Perón are willing to die for this nation. I ask you today for one thing: that we swear to everyone, publically, to defend Perón and fight for him until death.” The crowd shouted in affirmation of her opportunity to accepting a nomination for vice president. Eva’s declining health prevented her from officially announcing her candidacy, but she continued to be a visible symbol for the Peronist agenda. When Juan was elected to a second presidential term, his wife attended a parade to mark the occasion although weakened by cancer. On 4 June 1952, she rode beside him in the standing position as the car traveled through Buenos Aires. Her large fur coat hid the wire contraption fabricated to keep her vertical. She addressed the people for the last time on 1 May 1952.  “Friends, once again I am in the fight, once again I am with you, like yesterday, like today, and like tomorrow.” In death, she did not cease to influence her political followers and intimidate her enemies.
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The Duarte Family Tomb
M.J.C.

24 October 2016

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

The Museo de Bellas Artes is open to the public without charge, and I am free to visit often in short intervals of time. My trajectory along the Avenida del Libertador weaves through the museum. The institution, which settled in its current location in 1933, houses a wide variety of works from antiquity to century XXI. I favor the ground level for European paintings from centuries XII-XIX and Argentinian paintings from century XIX. The Guerrico Collection, which resides in rooms 16 and 17, takes my breath away. The collection was established by Manuel José de Guerrico (1800-1876). The collector’s son José Prudencio de Guerrico (1837-1902) continued to build the family’s holdings, contributing to the museum’s founding collection with the donation of 22 pieces in 1859. Descendants of the original collector donated hundreds of pieces in 1938, raising the number of items in the Guerrico Collection to over 600. Paintings by Boudin, Jacque, Corot, Pérez Villaamil, and Henner shimmer in gold frames against the red walls. The precise line formations of the small bronze, silver, wood, and porcelain objects command my attention. I wind between sculptures by Rodin, Tantardini, Calvi, and Carrier-Belleuse on my return to the traffic of Libertador. 
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The Guerrico Room
M.J.C

19 October 2016

The Restaurant at Algodon Mansion

Accustomed to early evening dinners, we arrive at Algodon Mansion (Montevideo 1647) ahead of the crowd. The hamburger and selection of empanadas are our favorite items on the menu. The Algodon Estate is a wine empire. Thus, testing Malbec, especially at Mansion, is obligatory. We evaluate the taste, the waiter waiting for nods of approval. Apologizing for the inconvenience, we inquiry after our favorite Chandon, and he delivers. Before embarking on our westward walk home along the Avenida del Libertador, we descend to the basement. Admiring the uniformed wine cellar through the glass is time well spent. 

Dinner at Algodon Mansion

M.J.C.

14 October 2016

Outside Teatro Colón

Teatro Colón first opened its doors at Cerrito 628 in 1908. The first venue,  located on the site of the current Banco de la Nación Argentina (at Sarmiento 101), closed in 1888. The present house, designed in the eclectic style, was built by three different architects over a span of twenty years. One of the most renowned and acoustically sound theaters in the world, Teatro Colón was named a national historic monument in 1989. We only needed to circle the perimeter to gain a sense of the house’s grandness. 
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M.J.C.

12 October 2016

Tango at Café Tortoni

The Parisian ambiance lured us to the grand Café Tortoni, but the tango show was cause for our extended stay. Founded in 1858 by a French immigrant, the café is quintessentially porteño. The irresistible combination of wood, marble, glass, and mirror elements evoke a European flair, like the tango itself. The performance, the establishment’s foremost asset is held in the basement. We are part of an intimate crowd, modest in number and delightfully international. The singer, lit by spotlight through the dimness, is an interactive host. As an audience, we respond to his survey of our home countries. When a member of the crowd declares himself the representative of los Estados Unidos, A.C. and I silently evaluate his inexperienced pronunciation. The dancers, who seem to have no fault, embrace, whip, hook, and sweep to the narration of the singer’s storyline. They glide, kick, and float across the stage effortlessly in unison.  At the close of the spectacle, we spend many minutes photographing ourselves on stage. Filled to the brim with chocolate, churros, and Chandon, we walk east on Avenida de Mayo, still in the midst of the dance. 
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M.J.C.

06 October 2016

La Avenida 9 de Julio

Heading west on the Avenida de Mayo, we crash into the Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world. The murals of Eva Perón on the side of the Ministerio de Desarrollo Social de la Nación survey the bustling traffic. I utilize the center pedestrian path as a runway. The buses pass in the bordering lanes as we make out way toward the Obelisco de Buenos Aires, a monument to the city’s history.
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M.J.C.

04 October 2016

Lunch at the Restaurant of the Museo Evita

We are ushered into the restaurant of the Museo Evita by the black and white checkerboard tiles. Sitting outside on the terrace, under cover of a green awning, we are greeted by the mix of sunshine and breeze of spring in Buenos Aires. The waiter brings a small bottle of Chandon and three glasses. The young waitresses perfect their postures at the command of their manager. M.K., who is fielding business calls on his mobile between bits of conversation, has the honor of pouring champagne. We raise our glasses in celebratory gestures to commend ourselves in this glorious city.     

Lunch at the Restaurant of the Museo Evita

M.J.C.

29 September 2016

Eva en la Casa Rosada

I imagine Eva Perón was born with dreams and the drive to pursue them. Although her life was short, she made significant strides in her agenda to combat social injustice and to popularize the Peronist party. She was poised, hardworking, intelligent, and eloquent, qualities befitting her station of first lady. Eva was 26 years old when her husband Juan Perón, whom she had married the previous year (1945), accepted the Argentinian presidency. The fierceness she exhibited in her efforts of financially assisting the working class defined her residency at the Casa Rosada. In her 33 years of life, Evita inspired more Argentinians than there were flowers at her state funeral. I traveled to the site of the balcony where she conducted her moving speeches. I stood in the presence of greatness, and her energy lingered in the air as if she had just passed through the open door. 
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M.J.C.

27 September 2016

Spanish, My Second Language

Five years of studying Spanish in the classroom has laid my foundation for conversing with native speakers. The act of employing Spanish in real life is liberating; the pressures of upcoming exams are lifted. To be successful, I merely exert an honest effort. If I forget the name of a noun, I describe the person, place, or thing. If I am unable to conjugate a verb in the correct tense, I opt for the present. The goal of attempting a foreign language is to be understood. The skill of conveying a message in a language other than my native speech broadens my borders. I partake in all aspects of daily life in cities where Spanish is spoken without assistance from a translator.
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Passes for the Subte, Buenos Aires
M.J.C.

23 September 2016

Paid Time Away

If you are fortunate enough to be given paid time off from work, especially in the U.S., it is essential to your wellbeing that you utilize this luxury. It is ignorant to take pride in passing up days away. Refusing to accept offered time is wasteful. In many cases, vacation days cease to accrue after a specified amount has accumulated. You can attempt to provide exceptional excuses as to why you need to work every business day of the year. Unless you are a professor who summers all summer, it will be difficult to build a credible argument. If you die of exhaustion, your company and coworkers will have to find a way to carry on in your absence. They might as well learn to survive while you are traveling in a plane as opposed to a hearse.
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M.J.C.

20 September 2016

Selecting Wine at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Shopping for wine is an educational field trip. It is an opportunity to engage experts in the field. An endless variety of wine is produced around the world. Consequently, the wine master offers an unlimited scope of knowledge. Berry Bros. & Rudd, located at 3 St. James’s Street, is one of my favorite shops. The lessons I received upon my entrance into the 318-year-old business are based in history and fueled by passion. 
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M.J.C.

15 September 2016

The Presence of Paintings

Time spent in front of an extraordinary painting should not be limited. Step aside to allow others to look, but gaze as long as your heart desires. Paintings are powerful pieces of art. Exceptional brushwork conveys and evokes a range of sentiment. Connecting visually with a work is to converse with its artist. A good conversation does not deserve to be cut short.
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Up Close with The Thames below Westminster, The National Gallery
M.J.C.

13 September 2016

Parade on Piccadilly

Instead of going to the gym, I opt for long walks through London. From my starting gate along Bayswater Road, there are many directions up for consideration. My path most traveled is southeast through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park to the Corner. Once I surface from the pedestrian underpass, I find myself on Piccadilly. Even after repeatedly following this course, I am invigorated each time I reach the top of the staircase. Being a bit claustrophobic, I am relieved that I managed to get through the passage safely. I find the sites accessed in the vicinity of Piccadilly majestic and thrilling to behold. I continue west in the direction of The Ritz, St. James’s, and Buckingham.
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M.J.C.

08 September 2016

Philanthropy Philosophy

We all have the capacity to contribute philanthropically to causes we deem worthy. Offering financial support or voluntary hours to a cherished institution or organization significantly impacts its ability to fulfill its mission. When we encounter a good cause that resonates with our principles, we should not hesitate to join in. If everyone gave in a small way, the amount of aid would surmount. There is strength in numbers. I have a desperate need for my foundations to prosper. The value they bring to my soul is immeasurable.
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The Adam Library at Kenwood, an English Heritage site  
M.J.C.

06 September 2016

Recalculating in Real Life

When a staircase leads to nothing, it is compulsory to descend and opt for another. To ascend and descend in rapid succession is tiring but imperative to persevering. Finding the proper path in life is only possible with a bit of recalculating. Setting a goal is the first stage of achieving a desired objective. The subsequent stages of chasing a dream are testing, amounting to one long journey of life. 
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M.J.C.

01 September 2016

Physical Photographs

A camera or computer is not an acceptable place of residence for a photograph. It should be framed atop a piano or in a leather bound album. I am serene and lifted up when surrounded by photographs from life's moments and of the people who have captured my heart. Images cannot be enjoyed to their fullest extent from the confines of an electronic device. They are meant to be cherished and tangible.
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M.J.C.

30 August 2016

The Library Nook

The most important step in becoming acclimated to a newfound library is discovering an area of your own. A bond will emerge when you meet your favorite seat for the first time. You will be despondent when others take up residence in your territory. But your heart will swell with pride and relief on the occasions you swing your cardigan over the chair's back. A desk hidden away in the stacks, alcoves, or corners is prime real estate. Lamplight merging with dimness and the smell of wood and old books are favorable conditions for readers/writers. Thus, competing for your favorite nook is a battle on an intellectual level. photo cdd82527-28bf-4a68-8059-04bd20590534_zpszt8x8dfj.jpg
The Library of Frank Furness, University of Pennsylvania

M.J.C.

25 August 2016

A Multitude of Multiples

Occasionally an article of clothing arises that I must have. Acquiring this exceptional item becomes my primary concern the moment it is available for purchase. This has been the case with the J.Crew Ruffle-sleeve Top. It is my favorite shirt of all time. I own the striped versions, one in black vintage champagne and two in undyed navy. When solid colors navy and pale lilac appeared for Fall 2016, I immediately placed my order. The addition of even more varieties would be a notable highlight of my year. I am notorious for purchasing multiples of one piece, oftentimes in the same color. A stylish woman knows her own taste and does not deviate. 

J Crew Ruffle-sleeve Top


M.J.C.

23 August 2016

How to Visit a Museum

After years of visiting, studying, and working in art museums in the U.S. and abroad, I have gained insight into the most efficient way to experience sizable sites of historical and cultural significance. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to guests who speak in hushed tones, refrain from touching the artwork, and are able to follow a map. If you do not conduct yourself in this manner, you should consider adjusting your behavior

A museum is a learning hub and one's demeanor in the presence of such an institution should be scholarly. Do not purchase an admissions ticket without first knowing what the museum's collection entails. Utilize the World Wide Web to research the museum's ticketing policy, history, location, layout, and holdings. Consequently, you will not embarrass yourself by trying to return an admission ticket to an art museum whose mission you assumed was devoted to natural history. 

Once you have secured an admission ticket, the arrival time should be established. As in the case of The Uffizi Gallery, which utilizes a timed ticketing system, this may be set at the moment of purchase. If admission to the museum is generally free, like The National Gallery, or if you are a member, there is less pressure to see every piece of art in one day. Resist this temptation; you will only overexert yourself, wasting time. Ideally, you will be a regular visitor to all of your favorite museums. But if  you can not simply jet abroad on a whim, you will especially like to maximize your museum visit. 

Having served as a docent for five years, I am exceptionally fulfilled by tours and lectures. The guides research tirelessly, often on a volunteer basis, to compose an eloquent exhibition of his/her research findings. This service is not taken advantage of enough. The audio guide is another unsung, heroic, learning resource. It is common for visitors to be dissuaded from pursuing this option due to cost. I say, stop being cheap. It is well worth the price, and the money goes to a good cause. Disclaimer: You may have a look to see if the audio guide is available for free online. In my experience, this has seldom been the case. 

Consider lunch an educational expense. You will be able to enjoy your post-lunch period provided you have actually eaten lunch. You may decide to dine at the museum's restaurant (if the food is edible, and if the establishment exists). If you opt for a restaurant off the premises (these should be researched beforehand), do yourself a favor and stay away from overpriced tourist traps. A successful lunch will provide you with newfound energy to wait your turn in front of the Rosetta Stone, Mona Lisa or other popular object after lunch. While it is a good idea to stay away from crowds if possible, you are entitled, just like anyone else, to spend time in the presence of the most popular pieces.
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Room from the Hôtel de Cabris, The Met

M.J.C.

18 August 2016

Summer Central Park

Tourists and residents of New York City collide in Central Park. This enchanting green space seems to expand its boundaries to accommodate over 25 million visitors a year. Here, I can withdraw into myself in a way I cannot on the hurried streets or on the subway. I revel in my personal space, letting my thoughts fall where they may. While I may tire from a lengthy walk, the act of wandering in the park does not exhaust. Gazing at the ceiling of the Bethesda Terrace Arcade, taking in air from atop Belvedere Castle, and befriending ducks at The Pond plummet me into a pool of good spirits. I am inclined to drink. 
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M.J.C.

16 August 2016

The Basics of Brunch

No one does brunch like ​my fellow Americans. It is a weekend tradition. A host should never call "[your name here], party of one" into a crowd of waiting diners. As the term denotes a combination of breakfast and lunch, the occasion warrants a mixture of people.  If you are in the company of at least one person you love on a Saturday or Sunday morning, consider yourself good to go. 

You will never find me making brunch, unless I embark on a culinary career. This affair must take place in a restaurant or if at home, it must be catered. There are 104 weekend days in a year, which means there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy life this way. A woman should never run short of restaurants at which to brunch, no matter what American city she wakes up in.

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M.J.C.

11 August 2016

Brooklyn

Eilis Lacey (Satires Ronan) is overcome with homesickness when she moves from Enniscorthy to Brooklyn (in the 2015 film bearing the name of this New York City borough). The absence of her mother and sister overshadow the joys of adventure in the bustling city. With each letter she receives from home, Eilis plunges deeper into a state of longing. The gravity of Ireland’s beckoning gestures pulls at her heartstrings. The irresistible forces keeping her anchored in New York extend far beyond the pavements of financial opportunity. The marriage she shares with Anthony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) exhibits every quality a union of this magnitude should. Happiness is the cause of her newfound radiance. 
Mrs. Anthony Fiorello

M.J.C.

09 August 2016

The Essence of the Sun Hat

My ongoing quest to find the perfect sun hat has finally come to an end.  I have been reaping the benefits of this understated accessory for one month's time, and I wonder how I survived previous summers without it. The sun hat is portable shade, eliminating the need for sunglasses. If the sun hat is selected correctly, with a bit of old-fashioned taste, elegance will arrest the wearer. My philosophy: The wider the brim, the better. A wide brim creates a radius of personal space around the head. This may shield women from meddlesome strangers who are ignorant of silence as a virtue and shroud her in mystery.   
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M.J.C.

04 August 2016

Boat and Totes by L.L. Bean

I find it necessary to own at least one L.L. Bean Boat and Tote in every size. As a woman who does not consider sitting at home a way of life, I need Totes of various sizes to accommodate my belongings on a variety of occasions. The small Tote accompanies me around Manhattan quite often. Only a camera and a bottle of water are paramount for adventures on foot around the island. 

The medium Tote has covered more international distance than my Boat and Totes of any other size. It holds all the essentials I can not afford for the airline to loose, as well as any necessary cosmetic related items. Once I disembark and unpack, the medium goes with me in search of sustenance. It has recently traversed Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. 

I prefer the large Tote, in all of its American glory, for daily walks to and from work. It enables me to evenly distribute the weight of lunch, books, and shoes, allowing for the handles to sit comfortably on my shoulder. It is also the most useful companion, besides my husband, when lugging magazines, books, and water to the shoreline.  
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M.J.C.

02 August 2016

Lifting the Monogram Ban

I imposed a monogram ban in the time between our engagement and wedding. I waited with anticipation for my new last name, which contains a sweet-sounding, Spanish rolling "r." I constantly extended the list of items to be customized with my new initials, but finally resolved to reclaim my sensible nature, and narrowed my options. As marriage is a declaration of love and commitment, monogramming is a means of means of saying "this is mine," or "this is ours," and "I am in this clan." It is also a deterrent against theft.  
Monogram Me


M.J.C.

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