Friday, July 30, 2010

Camels in Desert, Sam

From Jaisalmer (State: Rajasthan) at a distance of 42 kms is a popular spot in the desert is Sam (State: Rajasthan). People go to this place to watch sunset. (Click on the image for bigger view)

One can reach this place by driving on the road. Other most popular means of transport is camel safari.


Wanted: A New Skincare Routine!!

My perfect skincare routine is nothing but a sweet (and slightly bitter) memory.  Since I like to stockpile skincare products when they go on sale, I don't notice a discontinuance until it's too late.  Last night, I discovered that everything that I use (well...everything but two products) has been discontinued.  WTF??  It took a lot of time, effort, and money to find my perfect skincare routine.  And now I have to start over.

As I was going through the motions of my evening skincare routine yesterday, I finished off my last tube of Kiehl's Light, Nourishing Eye Cream and my last bottle of Kiehl's Lycopene Facial Moisturizing Lotion.  When I checked Kiehl's website, I was surprised to find that the Light, Nourishing Eye Cream had been discontinued.  I already knew that the Lycopene Facial Moisturizing Lotion had been discontinued, but I have been in major denial.

I've tried the majority of other eye creams from Kiehl's (Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado, Abyssine Eye Cream +, Cryste Marine Firming Eye Treatment and Imperial Repairateur Moisturizing Eye Balm) and none of them work for me.  Maybe La Prairie's Cellular Eye Contour Cream?  But I'm not feeling the jump from $23 to $125.  KWIM?

After reading about the much hyped CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion, I purchased the evening version, CeraVe PM.  I hope it lives up to the rave reviews.  If that doesn't work out, I'm going to revert to Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer...a good but not perfect alternative.  (I know that everyone has been loving Kiehl's Acai line but I just can't stomach its strong scent.)

With discontinuance on my mind, I decided to check the status of my day moisturizer, La Prairie's Cellular Moisturizer SPF 15 (aka The Smart Cream).  And surprise, suprise...it has been discontinued!  You can still purchase it in the "Final Call" section of LaPrairie.com, but I'd rather find a new day moisturizer that has not been discontinued than stockpile the discontinued one.  Stockpiling at this point just feels like counter-productive procrastination.  (And yes, I believe that there can be productive procrastination!)  

For me, The Smart Cream has been the PERFECT summer day moisturizer.  It's a light cream that doesn't clog my pores and doesn't make me "shiny." Despite the built-in SPF, it's neither sticky nor smelly.  It actually absorbs beautifully and has a soft, barely-there scent (a very important thing to me).  Hmm...maybe I should procrastinate and stockpile?

So what are the two beauty products that I use that have (yet) been discontinued?  Kiehl's Moisturizing Eye Stick SPF 30 and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15.  But the discussion of these two products are for another post.

I'm going to have to make a trip to the beauty counter SOON and sample the eye creams and the face moisturizers.  I'll keep you posted on my progress...

Chail Travel Guide

Tour Services India Provides complete information on Chail tourism in Himachal Pradesh India. A detailed tourist guide to the hill town of Chail, its attractions, Chail Hotels. Also information on how to reach Chail.
Honeymoon in Chail
Chail : When Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala,was expelled from Shimla - the `summer capital' of the British in India - he decided to create his own capital for the hot months. The little village of Chail was perfect. It lay surrounded by magnificent deodar forests, Shimla was in direct vision and
Chail Hills
most important, the hill of Chail at 2226 m was somewhat higher than British-controlled Shimla. Today the Maharaja's creation can be experienced by everyone. Whether you are on a honeymoon  or in  search of seclusion or wish to organise a conference and demand all facilities, Chail has it all .
Chail in winter
Then, there is good sight seeing and the possibility of some fishing and trekking. Chail also has the world's highest cricket pitch and polo ground.

Places to visit

Sidh Baba ka Mandir (1.5 km) : Maharaja Bhupinder Singh originally began building his palace 
Chail Sidh Baba ka Mandir
at this site. It is said that a `sidh' -saintly person appeared before the Maharaja in a dream and declared that this was the place where he had meditated. Bhupinder Singh shifted his palace and also had this temple built.

Chail Cricket GroundCricket Ground (3 km) : Built in 1893, after levelling the top of a hill, this stands at 2444m and is the highest cricket pitch and polo ground in the world.

Wildlife Sanctuary (3 km) : The Chail sanctuary has `ghoral', `kakkar', `sambhar',' red jungle fowl ' and 'khalij' and `cheer' pheasants.
Chail Wildlife
Machan-like sighting posts have been built near Blossom and at Khariun.

Excursions

Kufri : An enjoyable drive through forests and small villages leads to this small but popular station. The Nature Park here is a great attraction. A short trek leads upto the Mahasu peak-
Kufri
with breathtaking view.

Sadhupul : Halfway between Kandaghat and Chail is this village and bridge astride the Ashwani stream. A good picnic spot.

Adventure and fishing : A dozen or so trek routes lead out of Chail.
Chail travel guide
Trails Iead upto the Choor Peak and to Shimla. Skiing can be done at Narkanda during winters. There is fishing on the Giri river at Gaura , 29km  away.

Access

By Air : The closest airports are at Chandigarh ( 120 km) and Shimla(63 km).

Chail tours
By Road : Chail is connected by road. From Shimla via Kufri the distance is 45 km and via Kandaghat this is 61 km. Kalka is 86 km away. Regular buses for Chail leave from Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi.

Climate Conditions

In winter, the temperature can
drop below freezing point when heavy woollens are required. In summer the climate is mild and light woollens/cottons are recommended.

Best time to visit

Chail and its surrounding areas is a delight for tourists in every season. It is charming in summer,
Chail
fascinating in autumn when the fields and the forests are covered with a cloak of russet and gold and, of course, in winter it is nothing less than paradise. Everything about this place is as perfect as perfection can possibly be. The air here is crisp, invigorating and there is some kind of warmth in the snow.


Tour Services India

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Of Paye and Pulang Lupa

PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR IN MARINDUQUE
(Of Paye and Pulang Lupa)

(Photo of the American landing in Laylay, the soldiers seen here wading ashore)

The most comprehensive account of the U.S. Army’s pacification of Marinduque from the period April 1900 to April 1901 was published in the Journal of Military History 61 (April 1997), in an paper written by Andrew J. Birtle.

The said paper begins with the following gripping lines:

“The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a complete history of it were written out”.

”So wrote Philippine Commissioner William Howard Taft concerning the U.S. Army's campaign on the island of Marinduque during the Philippine War of 1899-1902. The pacification of Marinduque was characterized by extensive devastation and marked one of the earliest employments of population concentration in the Philippine War, techniques that would eventually be used on a much larger scale in the two most famous campaigns of the war, those of Brigadier Generals J. Franklin Bell in Batangas and Jacob H. Smith in Samar..."

The Birtle article provides the first detailed account of the story that Taft, the future governor of the Philippines and President of the United States, had felt "was best left untold.”

Paye Day on July 31

Marinduque marks the Battle of Paye Day on July 31, one of two historical holidays commemorating the revolutionary struggle on the island in 1900 during the Philippine-American War. The Paye episode was described as a "skirmish" in American journals (Wells). Local accounts refer to it as a "battle". Paye is a sitio of Brgy. Balimbing in Boac's Ilaya-side.

(Boac Church. Company A was paralyzed and retired to this church)

Birtle describes the Paye episode in the following terms:

"In fact, the American hold over Marinduque was quite tenuous. Not only were the two companies of the 29th USVs poorly led, but with fewer than one hundred men at each location neither garrison could adequately protect itself and undertake offensive operations at the same time.

Moreover, Bates did not deem the garrison important enough to rate anything more than sporadic naval support. Without a ship to transport men and relay messages, the two outposts could not readily support one another. Coordination was further impeded by Manila's failure to appoint an overall commander for the island...

The precariousness of the American position became evident on 31 July, when Teofilo Roque's Guerrilla ambushed one of Lieutenant Wells' rare forays into the countryside.
Roque's force wounded two Americans and captured two others before the patrol escaped.

That night the victorious guerrillas set fire to a portion of Boac in an effort to drive the Americans out. In this they failed, though many of Boac's inhabitants fled, leaving the town virtually deserted. The episode also succeeded in paralyzing Company A, which retired to the church, venturing out only twice over the next two months.”


Birtle also described what followed six weeks later in the famous “Battle of Pulang Lupa". The Battle of Pulang Lupa is considered the first major victory of Filipinos over the Americans during the second phase of the Philippine Revolution.

Writes Birtle:

“On 11th September, Shields decided to take advantage of a visit by the gunboat U.S.S. Villalobos. Leaving Lieutenant Wilson and forty-one men to hold Santa Cruz, he loaded fifty-one enlisted men, a hospital corps-man, and his black servant onto the gunboat and sailed to Torrijos, disembarking that evening. The next day he had his first contact with insurgent forces since his company had been on the island, dispersing a band of twenty guerrillas and destroying their cuartel.

On the thirteenth (September), Shields led his detachment into the mountains with the intention of returning to Santa Cruz. Well informed about Shields's movements, Shields walked right into the ambush. A fire fight ensued for several hours before Shields ordered a retreat into a covered ravine. What began as a slow withdrawal quickly turned into a race down a rocky stream bed, as the Americans scrambled to escape the pincers that were moving to surround them (until) Shields fell seriously wounded.

After ordering that a message be passed to the senior NCO to lead the command out of the closing trap, Shields raised a white flag to surrender himself and the other wounded... the entire force lay down its arms. All told, the Insurgents killed four Americans and captured fifty, six of whom, including Shields, were wounded...

After months of hiding, Abad in a few short hours had destroyed nearly a third of the entire American garrison on Marinduque.

Confirmation of Shields's defeat sent shock waves through the American high command. The episode was one of the worst reversals suffered by U.S. forces in the Philippine War.”

Pulang Lupa

What is being described in the American annals as the defeat that “sent shock waves through the American high command” and “one of the worst reversals suffered by U.S. forces” was the Battle at Pulang Lupa that transpired six weeks after Paye.

Commemorating historic events contribute immensely in promoting historical appreciation and promote a deeper sense of identity particularly among the young.

One may raise the need to exercise caution in viewing such episodes in a broader perspective, but no matter, the Paye and Pulang Lupa accounts are important in recollecting the stories of local struggle during the second phase of the Philippine revolution.

The full Birtle article could be browsed on www.ulongbeach.com courtesy of Curt Shepard.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Exchanging Dollars for Euros

There is always some confusion regarding exchange rates.  "How many Euros can I get for this wad of US Dollars?" 

Many currency exchange rate websites, such as http://www.x-rates.com/ and http://www.xe.com/ display rates that apply to international banking transactions.  For individuals who want to go to a bank to buy Euros with US Dollars, though, the rate is always less favorable, because the banks must acquire the Euros and also pay their staff to manage, process and exchange them.  Banks charge a fee for these services (no surprise there!). 

To get the daily foreign currency exchange rate that applies to YOU when you go to a bank to buy Euros, visit the website of a major bank, such as Wells Fargo or Chase, and look for their information on foreign exchange.  For example, you can visit this Wells Fargo website and click on "today's rates:"  www.wellsfargo.com/foreignexchange

By the way, the Euro hit a 4-year low in May and has been climbing again slowly ever since.  Today's rate (July 28, 2010) was 1.3706 dollars to the Euro. 

Khajuraho Temples

From Orchha (State: Madhya Pradesh) we moved to our next destination Khajuraho (State: Madhya Pradesh) which is at a distance of 180 kms. Here one requires 2 full days to cover the monuments and other places around.

Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree), which can be found in plenty in the area. The World famous temples of Khajuraho were constructed between 950 and 1050 A.D. during the reign of Chandel Empire. During those days there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist. (Click on the image for bigger view)

Most of the temples are built of sandstone in varying shades of buff, pink or pale yellow. Erotic scenes represent a relatively small part of the carvings but sensuous eroticism prevails throughout all of the sculptures. The divine sculptures in these temples, are a tribute to Life itself, embodying everything that is sublime and spontaneous about it.The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions:
We shall attempt to cover these temples in some detail in the subsequent posts.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Video Review: Hayden-Harnett's Biblio Bag

I finally finished the video review of Hayden-Harnett's Biblio Bag in grape shine!  This a GORGEOUS leather bag that would make a perfect travel bag...thanks to its many interior and exterior pockets.  And grape shine is a beautiful deep purple.


Special Thanks to Our Sponsor:  AsterAlice.com

Here are some pictures for you:
  • Front View: The Biblio Bag is a large satchel at 19.5" wide and 13.5" tall.  It weighs 2.5 lbs...not the lightest bag but not a bad weight for its size.
  • Secret Pocket View: I know the color is a bit off from picture to picture.  This picture is the truest to grape shine IRL.
  • Close-Up View:

Kitchen Renovation Update...

Helloooooo!!  I know I've been remiss in updating Sale Therapy.  I've been swamped with my kitchen renovation project.  I cannot wait to show you all the before and after pictures (and possibly video??).

The thing I miss most?  Ice!!  I am without ice for the next four weeks and it's utterly frustrating, given that we are getting hit with heat wave after heat wave.  I can't make sweet-tea!!  And I live on sweet tea during the summer.

I will say one thing:  Price check EVERYTHING - both on-line and in-store!!  My kitchen contractor has referred me to great specialty appliance, granite and fixture stores, but sometimes, the same thing is cheaper at your plain old Home Depot.  

Here's a great example: InSinkErator's 1hp garbage disposal 
  • $395 at the plumbing store (as referred by my kitchen contractor) 
  • $319 at HomeDepot.com
  • $299 at Home Depot in-store
I'm not sure why there a price difference between the on-line price and the in-store price at Home Depot but I'll be buying the InSinkErator 1hp garbage disposal in-store for sure!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stefanibags.com: 25% Off Sale - NO EXCLUSIONS!!

Stefanibags.com is offering the best kind of promo code...a code that has NO EXCLUSIONS!  Use code "GLAM25" (expires 07/27/10) to take 25% off your entire purchase.  Here are my four picks: (Note:  Prices reflect 25% discount.)
  • Olivia Harris Zip Pocket Clutch ($131.25) in violet:  Ooohhhh...soft, slouchy, smooshy purple clutch with a wristlet chain.
  • Treesje Crimson Clutch ($291) in black:  This a fab rocker chic clutch (here's my video review:  Video Review: Treesje's Crimson) made from super soft leather!
  • Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Bag Mini ($412.50) in black:  For all you RM fans, if you want (or is it need?) another black MAB-Mini, get it now (here's my video review of the MAB-Mini: Video Review: Rebecca Minkoff's MAB-Mini)!!
  • Tano Mix Master Hobo ($149.25) in fuschia:  Thanks to a lovely shade of dusty fuschia, this hobo can take you from summer into fall!  And I love that this hobo has a zip top.
[Images Courtesy of Stefanibags]

Neutrogena: pure & free baby sunblock stick

Sometimes, you find something great unexpectedly.  You don't realize it until after a few days of using it or trying it.  This is how it was with me and Neutrogena's pure & free baby sunblock stick.  (I realize that SPF 60+ is a bit much, but that's the only choice.)


I dislike putting layers upon layers of creams/lotions/make-up on my face.  I try to keep my beauty routine as simple as possible.  I like the idea of my skin being able to breathe.  I'm not sure if that's scientifically or medically accurate (probably not) but that's how I like to think about it.  Too many "layers" makes me feel like I'm suffocating my skin.

As a result, I like to use a day moisturizer with a built-in sunscreen.  It's one less layer and one less step in my beauty routine.  I remember reading somewhere that it's not as effective as using sunscreen separately, but for me, it's better than not using sunscreen at all.  I'm also rather picky about the kind of moisturizer with built-in sunscreen that I use because the sticky consistency and smell of sunscreen is a huge turn off for me.

Last week, I had the scar below my lower lip lasered (I'm hopeful that it will significantly improve the appearance of the scar).  I was told by my doctor to wear sunscreen because that area would be sensitive and would darken if it came into too much contact with the sun.  So being me, I freaked and went looking for sunscreen with the highest spf+ possible for my face.

I found Neutrogena's pure & free baby sunblock stick.  It's GREAT!!  It's not sticky and it doesn't smell. It glides smoothly and is absorbed easily.  The consistency reminds me of a stick deodorant.  Right now, I'm only using it on the lasered area below my lower lip, but I'm thinking I may try it for my entire face, particularly around the eye-area to help prevent crow's feet.  

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Murals of Laxminarayan Temple, Orchha

In Orchha (State: Madhya Pradesh) the Laxminarayan Temple of 1622 is one of the most important tourist attraction of the place. (Click on the images for bigger picture)

The inner portion of the temple in the ceilings are adorned with murals, where the themes are based on Sage Valmiki’s Ramayana, and the poet, Tulsidas’, Ram Charitra Manas. In the painting above among other things one can see Lord Krishna with Radha.

The vivacious colors of the frescoes are still retained. In the painting above there are various animals like men on elephants and horses. There are also peacocks at the corners.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

El bosque de piedra de Lena

Yakutsk - Siberia - Rusia

Estos pilares son una impresionante formación rocosa que se encuentra en el extremo oriente de Rusia, en Siberia.

Estos pilares son de roca caliza y pueden llegar a alcanzar los 150 metros de altura, extendiéndose unos 80 kilómetros a lo largo del río Lena.

Además de ser un paisaje espectacular, es un tesoro orgánico para los científicos que estudian en estos bosques vírgenes siberianos el origen del mundo.

Hay fósiles de organismos diferentes que se remontan a la época del Cámbrico, lo que pude suministrar mucha información valiosa sobre la evolución del planeta.

Si quieres visitar este hermoso lugar tendrás que coger un vuelo hasta la localidad más cercana a Yakutsk y más vale que te lleves un buen abrigo, ya que es una de las zonas más frías del planeta. Después te será más fácil ir hasta el impresionante bosque por barco de la mano de los lugareños, con un coste de unos 500 euros. El viaje durará unos tres días antes de llegar al impresionante bosque.


Friday, July 23, 2010

White + Warren: Summer Sale!

White + Warren is having a summer sale on its website: www.WhiteAndWarren.com!  I found three more lightweight cardigans for you (if grey isn't your color).  Use code "JULYSHIP" to get free shipping on $50+ purchase (expires 07/25/10).

  • Cotton Slub Long V Cardigan ($39) in white:
  • Back Ruched Open Cardigan ($39) in black:
Note:  The bottom picture shows the back ruching in the color umber.
  • Shadow Stripe Cardigan ($79) in driftwood:

Bonus:  I know linen wrinkles but I still adore my linen pants.  On casual evenings, they keep me cool and more importantly, they keep the mosquitos away from my legs.  Sunshine abhors my black yoga pants and it's simply too hot for jeans, so linen pants are a great alternative when I want to be comfy.  These linen pants from WhiteAndWarren.com are classics that will never go out of style.  And...they're on sale for $69!

[Images Courtesy of White + Warren]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Laxminarayan Temple, Orchha

In Orchha (State: Madhya Pradesh) the Laxminarayan temple is one of the most important tourist attraction of the place. Though the temple is dedicated the Goddess Laxmi, there is no idol of the Goddess in the temple. (Click on the images for bigger picture)

This beautiful temple was built in 1622 by Vir Singh Deo. The condition of the temple soon worsened due to inadequate maintenance. It was reconstructed by Prithvi Singh during 1793. Built using lime mortar and bricks, the architecture of temple exceptional blend of temple and fort architecture. The temple has a rectangular plan with four multi-faced projecting bastions at its four corners. There are mural paintings on the interior walls of the temple.

The carvings on the central dome are exquisite as can be seen in the above image. The pillars on the corners are ornate with carvings. There is a statue of Lord Ganesh on this structure.


Intermix: Extra 50% Off Sale Items!

Intermix is having a sale-on-sale: take 50% off sale items in-store or on-line (www.intermixonline.com) with code "50SALE".  Promotion ends on 08/31/10.  If you can make it to the store, do it.  There's not too much left on-line but...I did find two very lovely items in the sale section:
  • Eugenia Kim Wide Brim Sun Hat ($129.50) in natural: This is the PERFECT sun hat!!  The ivory twine is such a gorgeous and elegant touch.
  • Helmut Lang Silk Chiffon Drape Jersey Cami ($39.50) in black:  I like that this sexy, drapey, suggestive-in-the-back, night-out-on-town top doesn't actually show much.  And could the price get any better?  This is something you'll be wearing more than once...or twice. 
[Images Courtesy of Intermix]

ShopDressOnline: UGG Sale!!

Here is a perfect opportunity to make a superb planned purchase for this coming fall/winter:  ShopDressOnline.com is having a HUGE UGG SALE!!!  Take 30% off all styles with code "UGG30".  Don't hesitate; it's unclear when this fantastic code expires.

Sunshine hates my UGG boots, but you know what?  They keep me warm and comfortable when it's freezing.  That means I no longer complain that "my feet are cold."

Calypso: Lightweight In Grey

It's been ridiculously hot for over a month now.  To avoid melting this summer, you're required to wear as little as possible without looking like a cheap tart (and I'm not not talking about pastries).

But that's not all! Because you're wearing as little as possible, you need to carry a long-sleeved top to avoid freezing on the subway, in stores, at the office, etc.  You need something that's light-weight so it won't take up too much space in your bag.   And it's has to be classic and neutral enough to work with any outfit (fine, most outfits) so that you can leave it in your bag.

Where do you find such a top at a great price? Calypso!

Calypso has 3 such cardigans in grey that are on sale.  And if you purchase any one of them (or all three) today (7/20/10) between 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST, take an additional 20% off with code "CC710".   This code works on all items except for home goods.  (Note:  Prices do NOT reflect additional 20% discount.)
  • Jersey Duster ($49) in cool grey:  This casual duster is great for the weekends.
  • Ceri Cardi ($49) in cool grey:  This more tailored cardigan would work great for the office.
  • Darshini Sweater ($69) in lapin:  This cardigan is another great option for the office.

[Images Courtesy of Calypso]

Garmugia Soup Recipe from Lucca

For those of you who might have seen "Garmugia" on the menu below from Prosciutto e Melone and wondered what it was, this link will bring you to a recipe: Garmugia Soup Recipe from Lucca.  It is a hearty peasant-type dish believed to have originated in or around Lucca. 

The Tasty Victoria And Albert Museum

london travel

The Tasty Victoria And Albert Museum

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

56 Days Until Tour Departure!

It's hard to believe that we only have 56 days left until we depart for the Italian Oceans and Hilltowns Tour!  This summer is flying by! 

This restaurant may be the first place we visit once we arrive in Lucca.  Isn't it adorable?  I love the paint color on the plaster wall and the wooden gates that serve as doors.  Below are some of their menu items - every single one makes my mouth water!

The ladies and I are flying to Italy a day before the Tour officially starts so that we have a chance to acclimate just a bit.  We'll spend our first pre-Tour night in Lucca, and "Prosciutto e Melone" is a darling little restaurant right down the street from our B&B.  Check back in October to see what I thought of this dining establishment.

Below is the street view of Prosciutto e Melone (restaurant on the left) - it's tucked away on this tiny "via" behind the Piazza Anfiteatro, in the heart of historic Lucca.