Monday, February 19, 2007


I spy with my little eye some Keith Haring stuffed animal dogs in the window of a children's store on Elizabeth Street. I was so happy to see these dogs and realized that I still miss having Keith Haring's Pop Shop around. Keith opened the SoHo boutique in 1985 as a way of making his work available to the public. The shop closed its doors in 2005.


One Chinese New Year tradition involves the giving of Hongbao. Hongbao are red packets with money in it, which symbolizes luck and wealth. Red packets are typically handed out to younger generation by their parents, grand parents, relatives, close neighbors and friends.

In Chinatown, you can find shops and sidewalk vendors selling lots of different kinds of Hongbao. A fan of Hello Kitty, I picked up the Hongbao shown to the left.

Happy New Year!


The Chinese New Year began yesterday, February 18th. Because my San Francisco elementary school celebrated the Chinese New Year on our playground, this occasion has special meaning to me. I remember watching The Dragon Dance and The Lion Dance in awe.

Here in New York, I am blessed to live near Chinatown. Chinatown brings my senses alive. During the months leading up to the New Year, the shops - may of them open-air - are filled with special decorations and Hongbo, red envelopes that adults fill with money and give to young people for luck. The gentlman above is selling Hongbo to sidewalk passersby. I indulged in Snoopy- and Hello Kitty-themed envelopes.

The Chinese New Year is the first day of the lunar calendar, so it is also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. Records whow that the Chinese started to celebrate the New Year about 2000 BC, on the first day of the lunar calendar based on Emporer Wu Di's almanac of the Han Dynasty.

Chinese New Year celebrations include the following traditions:

1. One month prior to the Chinese New Year, participants clean and decorate their homes, buy new clothing, get haircuts, prepare food to last two weeks.

2. A New Year's Eve dinner.

3. Firecrckers, which signal getting rid of the old and welcoming in the new.

4. Hongbao - red packets filled with money to symbolize luck.

5. The Dragon and Lion Dances.

6. The Lantern Festival.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


In years past, I've made Dream Collages or Treasure Maps. That's where you cut out magazine pictures which represent the things you want to bring into your life. You glue the pics down onto a large piece of posterboard and put the board in a place where you look often, like over your desk. The last couple of Dream Collages I made kept falling off the wall and took up a lot of space in my petite home office. Furthermore, they became like wallpaper - something I looked at so often that it faded into the background.

Last year, I decided to do something different; that something evolved into a Dream Binder. It's a 3-ring binder and in it I keep documents and mementos related to my goals for the year. I mostly use mag. photos or write notes on 3x5 cards to record what I want or what events occured that related to my dreams. OR I write something I want as if it has already occurred.

Quick Dream Binder tip: I use thin black paper covered by a thin plastic protector and designed for a 3-ring binder. This product makes it easy to slip in or glue down 3X5 cards or paper mementos.

Here's something interesting that happened in my dream binder last year: I cut out pictures of two things I wanted to win in the New York Public Library Sweepstakes. Although I did not win the spa vacation, I did win a gift certificate to a restaurant in Manhattan! In looking in Dream Binder 2006, I also see seeds of good things that have started to happen this year.

In summary, a Dream Binder is both a scrapbook and a crystal ball. You can look into it to see good things that happen along the way and to set your intentions for good things to come.

Try it! You'll like it!

( PS - The above photo of America Ferrera in her role of Betty Suarez in Ugly Betty is the cover of this year's Dream Binder. )