Monday, December 31, 2007

100th Post!

WooHoo! This is my 100th blog post! And, it's the last day of 2007...what a wonderful, busy, travel-filled year. To celebrate, I have a 10% coupon for my blog readers. Just enter the code 100THBLOG when checking out at PinkBird Creations. Happy New Year, feathered friends!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

PinkBird's Travel Pointers (Volume II):

We flew back to the DC/Baltimore area last night...First Class.
Not only did we fly in the section with free "adult beverages" and real plates, we also got free round trip tickets to use to go anywhere in the 48 contiguous United States.
Since I love those types of travel situations, I thought it was high time for another edition of PinkBird's Travel Tips.

1. I will start with how to score free tickets. Just ask. Yup. Ask at the check-in desk if they will be needing volunteers to give up their seats. I have noticed that American Airlines usually announces over the PA if they need volunteers, but United may only put up a "message" on the flight info board behind the desk. Either way, it doesn't hurt to ask, you may be put on a list and they will call you if they need to give up your seat.
And, if they do, you will get a voucher for a free flight (and sometimes for meals and hotels too, depending on how much time there is between the flight you should have been on and the one you will be bumped onto). If you have a few hours to kill, or don't need to be to your destination in a hurry, why not wait a few hours and get free travel in return? Also, asking if they need people to volunteer before they make the PA call, can put you at the top of the list. Just remember to be polite and friendly...the flight attendants will take note of that.

2. I hate to iron, (and, rarely do), especially if I’m on vacation. I also hate travel-creased clothing. You can buy a travel-size bottle of spray-on wrinkle removers. But, what I have found works even better is to pack a small spray bottle that creates a nice fine mist. Fill it with water when you reach your destination and mist your clothes then just smooth out the wrinkles with your hand. Plus, if you're traveling in hot areas you can the use that spray bottle to mist yourself for an instant cool down (I had a friend in college that would do this, I always thought it was such a great idea).

3. Small travel-sizes packages of tissues are great and have so many uses (seriously!). I carry them in my purse when traveling (or going to music festivals) because they can be very helpful if the bathroom is out of toilet paper. I like to use a non-disposable cloth handkerchief also, but sometimes they can just get messy and take up needed room in my carry-on or purse.

4. As a woman, I like to pack a few skirts because they look dressier (and pack lighter) than jeans or shorts and they are much cooler in warm climates. Long or short, skirts can work with anything and are easily dressed up or down. (Plus, they make using a squat toilet so simple!)

5. If the airline does loose your luggage and you have to buy new things (clothes, razors, toothpaste, etc) make sure you keep your receipts! By sending the airline copies of the receipts they can—and will pay you back. Interesting story...British Airlines (whom I later found out is notorious for lost luggage) lost our bags when we returned from a trip to Africa. It wasn't too bad as we were going home. But, we still had to go buy little things like toothbrushes and my husband needed a razor, etc. It cost about $25 to replace the stuff we needed, after sending letters with copies of our receipts to BA they sent me an apology and a check (for more than 4 times what they “owed” me to show how “truly sorry” they were!)

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Kind of Town:

I love Chicago. I miss living there sometimes (I grew up just outside the city). The day after Christmas my whole family (in-laws included) wandered around the city. Here are some pictures of "The Bean" in Grant/Millennium Park. I really like the second one because my sister and I were running around in front of it, so we look like ghosts in the photo.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rented Cars and Expired Tags.

Well, as I said before, the first day of our journey across much of Illinois and Missouri was somewhat "interesting." We flew into Chicago and rented a car so that we could drive to Springfield, Missouri and back....well, about 3 hours into our trip, after battling blinding white fog in the middle of nowhere Illinois we pull over for snacks and gas. This is when The Guy notices that the tags on the license plates are expired. Yes. And, not only are they overdue, they expired three months ago in September. We called the car rental company (it was National, in case you care) and they seemed to think it wasn't a big deal. "Just bring the car into the location in Springfield, Missouri, and you can exchange it if you'd like." What? If we'd like? I don't need another reason to worry that I'm going to get pulled over....and then what, "sorry, officer, it's a rental." Strange. I mean, a rental car company's job is to handle cars, right? So, we got to pay to drive an illegal car from Chicago to Springfield. (It's about 8 hours).
The good news is, that we told National, the rental car company how we felt (basically, that they'd dropped the ball) so the guy at the Springfield location was like, "I'll put you in something nicer." We got a red HHR, which, to me, is not nicer. We were still disappointed, so we spoke to a manager at the location where we'd originally picked up the car, and he took over $100 off our total. That was nicer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

on the road:

We are on the road...traveling the midwest for the holidays. From Chicago to Missouri and back again.
I already have stories to tell, which is good as we have only been traveling for about a day and a half. I will post some dispatches from the road soon!
Hope all is well where you are!

Friday, December 14, 2007

just a reminder:

The last day to order from PinkBird Creations for pre-Holiday shipping is December 17th. We will be taking our own holiday after that and will not be able to ship orders until we return. So, orders placed between December 18th and January 1 will not ship until January 2nd. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: Musical Celebration in Tagmout, Morocco

The whole scene is forever etched in my mind: the magical musical celebration we were invited to attend in Tagmout, Morocco, a lush Berber village in the mountains. Berber village men wore beautiful royal blue ensembles, the smell of mint tea and cigarettes floated in the desert air, while the veiled women sitting upstairs watching the whole gala from above, occasionally calling out and often giggling. Skinny cats lounged in the shade beneath the table where I sat tapping my feet, just waiting to be invited to dance. Finally, the Ahouach musicians invited me to fully participate in the traditional Berber celebration--one took my hand and lead me into the circle. We all held hands while dancing in this circle. It was a circle full of energy. We clapped rhythmically. The music was hypnotizing. Being a guest for this private Ahouach musical festival was probably both the most incredible and most humbling celebration I have ever been lucky enough to attend.

The above is basically what I submitted to a travel photo contest sponsored by Conde Nast Traveler magazine...and, while they still haven't announced a winner, they did decide to use my picture as their default gallery picture...which may not be much but it's exciting to me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

do you need business cards, brochures, pictures, stickers...etc?

If you need business cards, holiday cards, pictures, stickers, brochures, calendars, magnets, postcards, stamps, note cards, fliers, etc for personal or business marketing, try Vista Print, and use this link: because that's my Vista Print "personal link" and when you use it, I get credit to use in their store...and well, I've gotten a few things there, from cute business cards with my logo (as well as free ones, that use some boring template) calendar magnets and some notepads...all things that I don't exactly need but that can be fun promo-marketing freebies to give to customers.

So, when you click through this link and place your first VistaPrint order, you'll receive a special promotion and I'll earn store credit.

Just a thought...and an easy way to help a bird out!
Have a marvelous day,

(P.S. Happy Birthday, Christine!!)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More Art:

It's been a busy few weeks for me in terms of Art...the gallery opening was lovely, and my painting is one of a number of works chosen for my school's website as a preview of the student art invitational show.

I am surprised for some reason at all the good things that seem to be coming out of my choice to finally take an art class. I feel like I am succeeding. I did not fall or sink. I jumped in and am living it. I'm floating purposefully and intentionally. It's a really good feeling.

Also, my art teacher chose 3 of my works for a display case in the art department. Here is just a sample of that:

When I signed up for my first art class a few months ago I was soooo nervous. I'm not afraid to admit that. I was so afraid of not doing well. I was afraid I was more passion than talent. But, what I have learned in these last few weeks, is that I can do it. It may be Art 101, but there is potential there. And, I believe there was nothing accidental about me taking an art class now. This was the best, most perfect time for me to "officially" begin this part of my artistic life. This is the time that I am best suited to listening to the universe and to connecting with the creativity that is inside of me. I have relearned some of the most basic life-lessons in these past few months: 1. Be yourself. 2. Do the best you can/try your hardest. 3. Be honest with yourself and others. 4. Never, ever give up.

Friday, December 07, 2007

you are loved (again)...

I had meant to post this sooner, but almost forgot about it...the bathroom-mirror-post-it-noter strikes again! And with the same message. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of this:

A post-it note stuck to the mirror in the women's bathroom
of my college December 3, 2007, Columbia, MD.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: London's Tower Bridge

Near the end of a typical rainy London day I decided to forgo an umbrella and take a walk over to the Tower Bridge. After viewing and photographing the bridge from the side, I figured rather than just photograph the bridge that is often confused with London Bridge and say “I saw it,” I might as well live it by walking across. Sometimes while traveling it is easy to forget to actually live in the moment; especially if you are viewing your entire adventure from behind your camera trying to document your journey for those at home or for those in the future. This was one of those moments for me. I had to embrace life not just for a photo to put in an album...of course, before crossing the Tower Bridge I had to snap a picture!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

PinkBird Logo Merch on CafePress

Just some PinkBird Swag, on CafePress. You know you wanna wear our logo! We will be introducing more new stuff there soon!

click here:
PinkBird Swag

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Orders:

We put up our Christmas tree the other day....which got me thinking about how we will be on our 2nd Annual Midwest Holiday Roadtrip soon. This means that the PinkBird shop will not be shipping for a few days: the last day to order for Holiday shipping is December 17th. So, orders placed between December 18th and January 1 will not ship until January 2nd. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

my first art show:

Well, my first art gallery show went wonderfully! There were so many people there...and quite a few of them were there just to see my work! (*thanks!*) As much as I don't like to compare my life to television, I was a little afraid the reception would be a bit like that episode of The Office, where Pam has an art show and only Michael shows up. Luckily, my life is not TV and it is, in fact, way better! Thanks to all of you for your friendship, support, and general loveliness!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: Coventry, Vermont

Getting there is Half the Fun or the journey is the destination:
The final shows of the band Phish were a bittersweet weekend music and camping festival: while I got to see my favorite band, it was for the last time. Two days before the show we were 20 miles from the venue when traffic stopped. I photographed the traffic behind us, that backed up for miles, while we waited over 24 hours in concert traffic only to move about 8 miles. We became friends with the people in cars around us; played Frisbee in the rain while waiting for traffic to move. Finally, a radio announcement said that due to rain, cars were forbidden in the festival area. We had come too far to turn back. So, we found a parking place on the roadside, packed our necessary camping gear, and walked the remaining 10 miles into the concert venue. Despite it all, we had an incredible weekend in Coventry, Vermont.

Happy December--news about the art gallery show coming soon!

P.S. You can rate this photo here.