ShirleyZB's Profile

Display Name: ShirleyZB
Member Since: 2/26/09

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Irina's Modern Xanadu House Tour
7/29/13 01:33 PM

From the time my daughter was 6 & my son 11, we lived in Europe, very cheaply, every other summer stopping in London to visit family, but otherwise, improvising on our own on the Continent. These were the best trips I've ever made though we had many glitches, money problems, no reservations, whatever.My husband, a disgruntled, cranky traveler, would join us briefly at the end, but nowadays we don't refer to that part of our trips.

Later, on my own, considered "older", in my fifties I traveled with a university group, found coping with personalities difficult, though I found one person who is still a close friend (for more than 30 years!). On other trips, I alternated; if manageable and in a European country where I could cope with the language, I'd arrive, take a local bus tour, then walk and explore on my own. I've made a few short trips with friends, but I wouldn't recommend it, because when lifestyles, attitudes, discomforts arise, there is trouble.

In my sixties, seventies, I traveled alone, but for those places I felt would be too challenging I joined small tours. I'm a hardy traveler, have little fear of other cultures, languages, food, or behavior, but traveling with my fellow Americans, especially couples glued at the hip, for they were not polite or inclusive, I was uncomfortable; and, if I chose to sit alone at the breakfast table, someone would come over to criticize: "Are you anti-social?" Since I've always been self-reliant, and have lived alone for many years, I found such attitudes repulsive and rude.

One year I traveled to India under the guidance of an Indian who's lived in the US a long time, Julie Sahni, and I recommend her trips. There, too, I found friends, but also avoided those Americans who were rude, clannish, and super critical of the country they were visiting.Also, using local guides is crucial, because otherwise, it's a form of colonialism to have an American guide preaching the gospel.

On one of my last trips to Mittel Europe, visiting the concentration camps, destroyed communities, reconstructed cities, I felt it was necessary to surround myself with others, but, there again, I faced the inevitable unease couples have with older independent women. I vowed NEVER TO JOIN A GROUP AGAIN.

When my oldest grandchild was 15, we traveled for one month to European cities; it was arduous, in a heat wave, but we covered much, and she and I remember the good times, as well as the challenges. And, I'm not a high maintenance grandmother, so we stayed in low priced places, ate local, good food, and did lots of walking.

And, of course, for the independent traveler, there is the single supplement, a method for hotels to enrich their coffers though they have single accommodations; I pay but know that it is unjust, and I definitely won't share a room with a stranger; sharing a room with a friend in Paris for a week, educated me: NEVER AGAIN!

I speak for my generation, I'm 84, and my contemporaries don't travel alone, and have strong loud opinions about older independent women, so I'm not advising or discouraging others, especially younger people from joining groups or traveling alone. It's a generation thing, and I also know I won't take cruises because I always say that I'm not a good swimmer and can't escape from boring travelers, but I really mean that I'm not "into the couples" or clone-driven companionship style. I've made many long lasting friends on my trips, email sustains our friendships, but coping with the ugly Americans, the compulsive shoppers, the jokers, and those who visit another culture and complain about everything makes me wary. But, of course, in some places, I miss speaking my own language, especially at dinner. I dined alone is many cities, as well as in my hometown, but it does get lonely.

One thing I do have to mention:If you have children, do travel with them, forget about groups. When we did it, few Americans included children, and of course, there was the issue of manners, especially in public, but I assume that by now young Americans have learned how to manage that challenge. Because my children traveled when they were young, they are intrepid travelers now, with their children as well. In one of my speeches given at my 80th birthday celebration, I mentioned that I had taught my children 3 things: "Always have an up-to-date passport, be ready to pack efficiently at a moment's notice, and choose a career you love!"

Smart Travel: Pros & Cons of Guided Tours
7/28/13 11:33 AM

I do understand that life changes also mean changes in one's home, attitude, and ownership; I, too, following a divorce after a 30 year marriage, kids gone and grown, replaced the living room stuff, and since then I've moved to smaller quarters, but what others call my organized clutter bears evidence of a long, well traveled life, family history, personal history. My descendants will have to handle it all when I'm gone---but those books, CDs, art, rugs,plants, furniture, bibelots are great stuff (to me).

Cara's \"Have Less, Live More\" Flat House Tour
6/6/13 04:03 PM

Jamali is located in the flower district of Manhattan which is now reduced to several shops for decorators and apartment dwellers looking for varieties of plants and supplies.Because of the geek generation, their website is sophisticated ,and they now have 2-floor offerings, and any gardening, decorating, design problem one has can often be solved by a visit to their store.
The multi-lingual staff is helpful and polite. I've been going there for a very long time and have observed their growth and enterprise.We have few such places in New York. Home Depot doesn't measure up. I KNOW BECAUSE I'VE GONE THERE, TOO.

Springtime Shopping Guide: 10 Great Garden Stores from Coast to Coast
4/7/13 10:20 AM

None of these, because I'd like to see the entire room/home, and my preference is strong colors. Pastels, neutrals don't interest me. Sorry!

Fill in the Design ____________: Pick the Best Rug for this Bedroom
3/19/13 12:54 PM

Great looking apartment! I'm getting tired of the use of "small' as a pejorative. Unless you are the child of a duchess and earl who lived in a castle. we are all consigned to limited space. It's the point of view, not the dimensions, that is important.. I grew up in a tenement, so small was real for families, but not so important.

Mary Lee's Life in 300 Square Feet House Tour
3/7/13 02:20 PM

Personal taste aside, where would one put art/tv in a 1-bedroom Manhattan apartment where wall space is not infinite? Kitchen, bathroom,bedroom???????

Get a grip, folks. We Manhattanites are major explorers in utilizing space. This is APARTMENT THERAPY, not McMansions!

Vintage Finds in a Classic Co-op Professional Project
2/15/13 01:06 PM

Lovely home; light hand decoration. Oh, that California light! I wish I had some right now though I do face an open space in my Greenwich Village apartment (near "favorite wine bar (Aria on Perry and Greenwich") which makes plants grow near the windows, but no plants can stay alive within the apartment, too dark---unlike this place.

Alex's Tribute to Her Travels House Tour
1/11/13 11:18 AM

Impersonal! Sorry, museums show a finer touch and sensibility !t's not a contest for minimalism or clutter; it's total detachment!

Kelly's Globe-Trotting DC Condo House Tour
1/10/13 04:19 PM

Not boasting, but I one of those people who can spontaneously assemble a group, feed everybody, initiate conversation, introduce strangers, and do it efficiently so that I can take a shower and nap before guests arrive---after I've cooked a large meal. It's all a matter of planning, taking deep breaths, and gathering a group of people who have certain characteristics which will enhance conversation and enjoyment.

My friends are from different parts of the world, the work world, past and present, various ages. Some know each other and others do not. I first select those I'd like to see (or I'm reciprocating an event), but I include an extrovert; a charming person(s) who will reach out to shy people; someone who is comfortable in a large group; couples who move beyond sitting next to each other and holding their own private conversations, and if there's a witty person, it makes all the difference.And I never have an even number of guests. The twosie club becomes very insular (I'm a single after a long marriage). I also cook something no one has eaten before. And, because I'm not a dessert person, I do ask guests to bring a small dessert or wine.

The important clue to my enjoying the event is to cook dishes which can be served so that I spend much time at the table with my guests. I do not serve formal meals which require serving, removing, and replacing many dishes.

Nowadays, I have a tiny galley kitchen and small apartment, so planning and organization are a must.(Another disclosure: I have no matching dishes!)

Party Hosting Tips: How Do You Keep a Guest List Small?
11/7/12 03:24 PM

Your apartment is charming, and I have to confess that we may share some DNA, for my Greenwich Village bedroom has a similar headboard, but it is made from the base of a Shesham table, its circular top removed and now a plant stand, and the base, stretched flat, is mounted on the wall like your screen. Other Asian touches, such as chairs, fabrics, masks, sculptures resemble those in my place.

My family connections are East Indian (husband, children,more), and my taste is truly a mix of textures, colors, handmade objects, and your wall colors are wonderful, resembling those in India, Thailand, and mangoes, and the Middle East.That my origins are Russian means I have a yen for patterns; my children, more minimal than I am, consider me more of a Gypsy than mainstream American, and they are on target.

Bravo! Your apartment is truly lovely and distinctive!

Claudia's Cosmopolitan Co-op House Tour
10/26/12 01:06 PM

This year, as soon as the new Marimekko store opened near W. 23th St. in NYC, I rushed over. I own 6 yards of a black and white fabric I purchased in the 1960s, and I could earn a mint if I sold it. I used to sew my clothes, household items, everything, but didn't manage to use this fabric. It is beautiful, and it was wonderful in the old days. Excellent quality, strong dyes, everything a seamstress could wish for. Unfortunately, I injured my hands some time ago, so no more sewing machine, needlepoint, embroidery, alterations, and the fabric remains folded in my chest of drawers which contains collections of fabrics purchased worldwide..

When Marimekko first made its appearance in the US, it introduced styles, fabrics, designs we were hungry for, except for the ladies who required tight fitting, sexy garments to show off their figures. I loved the whimsy, bold graphics, colors, and when I sat in their present store across the street from Madison Park, I read their book about the founders and their production.

Bravo to Marimekko!

Quick History: Marimekko
9/19/12 12:29 PM

I agree with the above comments. This home reflects a suitable place for a young woman who is not focused on dazzling others. It is a lovely apartment, and fortunately doesn't demonstrate the trendy, expensive, awesome stuff that we mere mortals cannot afford. It is tasteful (old fashioned word, I know), functional, and pleasing.Well done.

Julie's Artful Home in D.C House Tour
9/18/12 12:52 PM

I enjoy seeing the changes in terraced homes. My family used to spend summers in a terraced house near Wembley, owned by relatives, and eventually when The American (me) convinced my brother-in-law to renovate, I purchased the refrigerator, because I was tired of the tiny box, and he expanded the kitchen, opened the dining space, and brought light into the rooms. The original kitchen, produced after WWII, was clumsy and inefficient for my sister-in-law who kept on mentioning the larder. Every time we visited we contributed a new appliance, as well as stereo equipment for the nephews.

I'm thrilled to see the many improvements the present generation makes in these sturdy homes which have so much history. I always appreciated the large windows, the bay in the front, but, oh, that chill, if there was no central heating or fire.

Sarah's Contemporary Color in London House Tour
9/13/12 12:31 PM

ADDENDUM: I've reread the responses, and must add something; If you're traveling "to win" you learn nothing about where you are. The Ugly American imposes his/her will and fear of being outwitted by others. Sure, you may find the same item you purchased at a lower price in the States; I have, because I live in NYC where I can probably find everything, and I do, but I like to connect with others when I travel, and I don't mean my fellow Americans. I also don't have a chip on my shoulder that everyone is going to cheat me. Good manners, watching how things are done, never insulting others, and you'll have some terrific experiences to remember. Observe the body language, how you are addressed, and return the same courtesies. I've traveled all over the world, alone, with others, but I usually manage alone, or with my young children years ago, and I had a great time on a very limited budget. My home is filled with evidence of those encounters, and I have a story to tell about each purchase. If you travel to get the best deal, stay home.

That Time I Bought a Kilim in Istanbul's Grand Market
9/12/12 01:27 PM

Get over it, folks, because bargaining is customary all over the world, and it is not always cut throat but a way of communicating. Unwillingness to budge and offer a counter offer is senseless. In New York in an immigrant community, I grew up in a culture where it is a talent and a sport, and very practical. It is not a measure of how well and much you can mislead a vendor or force him to agree; it is a polite, engaging, sometimes frustrating style of getting what you want.

Start with information about what you want to purchase; carry the details, such as dimensions, samples of colors, and then figure out the price you can afford, with some leeway. If you are purchasing a rug, you won't be purchasing many, so figure out "the desirability factor," if you select something apparently out of your reach. Accommodate and adapt to circumstances.

I've bargained with tribeswomen in China for "antiques" by our scribbling numbers on our palms--no verbal histrionics; Turkey was a blast, and I purchased small rugs for my grown children, large ones for myself, some friends, a wonderful prayer rug because it was beautiful and now graces my daughter's entrance in her house.

Disdain for a cultural ritual will get you nowhere. In Turkey, apple tea and good manners accompany such negotiations; in India, tea, also, and lots of compliments. Smiling, laughing, for it is a game ,not a fight, and you will always remember the incident as pleasant, and a bit outrageous.Remember, it's the vendor's livelihood, so don't be cruel and competitive. Save that for your broker.

And, I suggest laughing at yourself when you reach home, for you've engaged in a connection which teaches you how to work out a deal, a human deal, not a cash register walk to get your item wrapped and paid for.

P.S. This also works for purchases at local flea markets, too. First question: "Is that the best price?"

That Time I Bought a Kilim in Istanbul's Grand Market
9/12/12 01:13 PM

Co-habiting in a small space? ???? Would you say that 1060 square feet is small for 2 people? Has everyone grown up in a Mcmansion? Hey, we New Yorkers don't complain, but that is a supersized place for most of us. Give me a break!

RJ & Francis' East/West Coast Loft House Tour
8/31/12 02:35 PM

Sixteen years ago, when I retired and moved back to Greenwich Village, I explored organizers of closets, and California Closets was the most expensive at a time when there were no other stores, only independent work-from-home businesses, and luckily, I found someone who had worked at California Closets. I hired him, and to this day, I'm grateful for his expertise (though he couldn't diagram in 3-dimensions--I can read blueprints, though),Though my needs have changed through the years, his 3-closet installations have worked out very well.

Setting Up Home: 5 Sources for Closet Organizing Solutions
8/29/12 01:42 PM

I can whip up an impromptu dinner for 20, but my 1-bedroom apartment is limited in comfortable space. Buffet meals become unwieldly, and expanding my dining table & adding a bridge table takes up much of the width of my living room. No one complains, but I do. If I place the tables lengthwise, we never get to sit in the "living room," and that, too, is awkward.

As an experienced hostess who lived in a much bigger place with my family, I know a party must include a mix of personalities to make it work. When the group is too small, it often does not work, and, of course, I can't accommodate 20 or more though I used to, but there's no walking space.

Does anyone have suggestions on accommodating a sit-down group 8+ in a classic one-bedroom Greenwich Village apartment? To reciprocate, I'll offer my organized preparation which allows me to take a leisurely shower and nap before meeting my guests.

No More Excuses: Confidence Boosting Tips for Hosting Gatherings at Home
8/21/12 01:32 PM

I watched the program, am a fan of the Novagratz enterprise, own their book---but couldn't live with their choices. Books lined up according to color is crazy, but I'm a scholar who knows and values her book collection,(owned 10,000 books before retirement to a 1-bedroom apartment which meant disposing lots. The use of the American flag is crass, perhaps trendy, but not my choice.

Also, watching the process, I wondered how and why a person would give over all the choices to designers. And the art work is repugnant! Enuff said!

Gramercy Apartment Gets a Spruce Up Home By Novogratz
8/14/12 12:21 PM