furniture :: bean bags on legs

The bean bag is back, only this time it's on legs and looking a little more sophisticated! That wise old phrase, "comfort is more important then beauty" clearly relates to this new line of comfy looking polystyrene bead filled seating which was  presented  at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan last week when Dutch brand "Montis" unveiled it's “beanbag on legs” styled by designer Bertjan Pot. The squishy modern seating line called "Lazy Bastard" combines the casualness of a beanbag with the comfort of a lounge chair.

Looks alluringly comfy, doesn't it? It's JUST COOL!

via dezeen

Travel :: an amazing underwater world

Planning a vacation soon? Well guess what? SeaWorld's newest attraction, Manta, is opening on May 22nd and SeaWorld is running an awesome contest where you could win a "Front-of-the-line" pass to experience it all. Experience the thrill of spinning, gliding and flying  like a giant ray when you ride the only flying roller coaster of its kind in the world.  Manta unveils an incredible underwater world filled with tropical fish and rays, many seldom seen by the human eye. Floor-to-ceiling aquariums are filled with rare leafy sea dragons and schools of colorful fish, and if you climb into the unusual pop up aquarium, you can get an awesome 360-degree view of all this watery  wonderment that will surround you!  Want to find out more  about the Manta and have a chance at earning a "go to the head of the line" pass for this extraordinary attraction?  Just go to SeaWorld's Manta site, register for free and you're ready to get started!  Use your existing Twitter account or sign up for a free account and follow @RealShamu on Twitter for insider tips, plus find answers for the Manta quiz throughout the website. Then when you think you know the answers, take the quiz and be a winner! SeaWorld and the Manta - it's all about the fun!


gardening ::watch your garden grow!

If you love gardening and watching the seeds you planted turn from tiny two leafed babies to lush and robust plants over the course of the summer then THIS you'll like! I found it in one of my favorite catalogs, Hammacher Schlemmer, which btw always seems to have the coolest gadgets. It's called the The Timelapse Garden Video Camera and will take a series of time lapse shots of your garden and save them as an avi movie!

"This is the camera that makes a timelapse video of your garden to show you the development of individual specimens or entire areas over a period of time. It can focus as close as 20" away to illustrate petal growth or, with its wide 54° field of view, it can capture perennials as they grow to conceal your spent spring bulb foliage (play the video). The camera takes a picture at one of six pre-determined intervals (five seconds to 24 hours) and combines them into a single 1280 x 1024 resolution AVI movie file for easy playback on a computer. It has a light sensor that turns off the camera at dusk and back on at dawn, allowing for continued video capture each day. Movies are timestamped and stored on the camera's removable 2GB USB flash drive, which can take up to 18,000 pictures. The camera's weather-resistant exterior enables operation between 122° F and 14° F."

It's only 159.99 over at Hammacher Schlemmer so check it out!

photo via ohgizmo

gardening::green lawns

Spring has sprung and it's grass grooming season again. Last year I tried some weird home remedies for the brown patches of grass my back lawn, hoping they just might remedy the "grass from hell". I had searched on the internet and read in a few places that  regular granulated sugar, when spread over the grass in the spring, would feed the natural microbes in the soil and make your grass healthy and thick. Did the sugar thing work? Not! The area is unsightly as ever, but I am still determined to achieve the lush green lawn of my dreams. I  am not going to use  those popular chemically toxic fertilizers however and have opted to use  organic fertilizer . From what I have been reading, organic fertilizers, unlike synthetic ones, help improve the soil by allowing the soil to better retain more nutrients and moisture. And organic fertilizers release nutrients in a controlled, time-released fashion .I'm pretty impressed by these natural products. They are safe for the environment and for my family and pets that play on the grass. Not only do they green up and thicken grass to make a lush  happy lawn, but they stimulate growth and kill weeds too.  So, I guess I'll get rid of the bags of sugar and leave it to the lawn experts - the ORGANIC lawn experts that is.

science :: smelly dreams

seconds later the cat was dead by ndanger.

Next time you climb into bed for a long night's rest, consider this. What you smell affects your dreams. Studies by German Scientists suggested that if you want to have sweet dreams, then sleep with flowers in your bedroom. Or , lovin' those dark, terrifying nightmares? Then fill your bedside with stinky things like smelly sneakers, last weeks stuffed cabbage, or even the cats litter box.

The scientists concluded that wafting the smell of roses under a sleeping person’s nose gave the person pleasant emotions in their dreams and the opposite effect was had on other volunteers that had the scent of rotten eggs fill their noses while sleeping. The scientists waited until the volunteers entered REM sleep and then exposed them to high doses of smelly air for 10 seconds before rousing them out of sleep one minute later. After questioning the volunteers about their dreams, the women hardly ever dreamed of smelling anything, however, the emotional tone of the dream changed depending on the different smells.

Dr Irshaad Ebrahim of The London Sleep Centre said: "The relationship between external stimuli and dreaming is something we are all at some level aware of. This initial research is a step in the direction towards clarifying these questions and may well lead to therapeutic benefits.

Hmmm... also a great excuse to splurge on fresh flowers... for mom!


via flickr & inventorspot


my art:: Mount Vernon View

I've been painting! This my latest, titled "Mount Vernon View".

 The glorious panoramic view of George Washington's stately home at Mount Vernon in Virginia has always been a popular subject for artists. I've seen several renditions of this view, from known artists like Edward Savage, Eastman Johnson, and William Thompson Russell Smith to obscure Sunday Painters that we will never know the names of yet who's work is just as important in merit. Infact my painting was inspired by a watercolor painted in 1942 by amateur artist Susan Whitcomb after the famous Alexander Robertson engraving "Mount Vernon in Virginia" when she attended the Vermont Literary and Scientific Institution. Reading up on this painting in my fav folk art book, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, I am amazed at the price of an education back then.   $1.00 per semester! I loved  Whitcomb's naive and stylized take on Robertson's engraving and turned it into my own, a bit more colorful, version.

Purchase my painting "Mount Vernon View" on Etsy along with my other originals and Wendy Presseisen Prints.


money :: investment options

I think making money in the volatile stock market these days is more or less a crap shoot. If you 're a risk taker and have money to invest however there are all kinds of ways to do it. Like through a company called Wicked Profits.Wickedprofits.com is an option advisory service that focuses on making consistent returns under all market conditions using stock index options.They issue trade recommendations and if you agree with their advice, you then place the trades that they recommend with the brokerage of your choice. They are not a brokerage themselves, but offer recommendations only. They've been in business since 2000 and because their service targets small returns each month, they have historically been able to maintain an extremely high win ratio of over 80% . Not bad! So review their website and if you think it's something you'd like to try then go for it! As with any type of investment though, you should only invest capital you can afford to lose. Investing is risky business and no one can make guarantees regarding your success. Past performance does not guarantee future performance and like any other investing service you can either win or lose. Like I said investing is a real crap shoot - so I say invest prudently!

Bacon ::the real bacon cheeseburger

Bacon...that other white meat. If you haven't noticed lately, it's the latest craze to sweep the internet! Probably because everyone loves everything about bacon - it's smoky deliciousnous paired with heavenly morning coffee aromas winding up the staircase and down the hall to blissfully awake you in the morning, not to mention its crackling crispy crunch. Soooo....if you are a die hard bacon lover, check this serious bacon cheeseburger out. Why so serious? Because there is no ground beef in it it at all, it is totally ground BACON molded into a patty and served between two slices of pepper jack cheese and loaded with perhaps enough fat to trigger a massive heart attack.

A little too much bacon for my taste but for you BL's...YUMMMMMMMM. Recipe here.

via a hamburger today


secret garden :: mosaic men in india

From trash to the eighth wonder of the world? It all began in the early 1960's. Nek Chand never imagined that his labor of artistic love would become one of the most magical gardens in the world today. While he worked as humble Road Inspector in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh by day, Chand would secretly toil at night in a little patch of jungle that had been earmarked for demolition, cementing and joining recycled materials he had picked up here and there - tile shards, stone, shells,discarded glass and other items - turning them into a mammoth mosaic legion of sculpted figures. Quietly, over the years his tiny plot grew into a series of interlinking courtyards encompassing several acres with tribes of all sorts - from men and women, to monkeys, dogs and other creatures. When the authorities discovered his secret garden growing out of this forbidden area of abandoned land, major controversy errupted.
The outcome, however, was good. The government ended up giving Nek Chand a salary so that he could concentrate full-time on his artistic endeavor. Nek Chand's colorful and collosal garden received immediate recognition and was inaugurated as The Rock Garden of Chandigarh.

"Now over twenty five acres of several thousand sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges, Nek Chand's creation also combines huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. The Rock Garden is now acknowledged as one of the modern wonders of the world. Over 5000 visitors each day, some 12 million people so far, walk around this vast creation - the greatest artistic achievement seen in India since the Taj Mahal."
Hmmm... I never knew about this place...it's JUST COOL!
photos via flickr


gadgets ::iphone houseplant

I hate those unsightly cords all tangled up when I'm charging my phone, cameras, etc. , don't you? Now you can charge your rechargeables  in this cool grassy charging station and hide all those messy cords. It makes an interesting looking house plant too. ;)

Ugly rechargeables - Not so ugly when they're sitting in some lush green grass, are they?

Get a Grass Charging Station for all your rechargeable gadgets!


health:: walking for a cause

Now that spring has finally arrived (finally!) I've been taking advantage of the weather and going for nice long walks. Sometimes I'll drive to the park with Poppy and walk around the lake that is teaming with ducks or I'll choose the closer to home route and walk along our beautiful tree lined neighborhood streets. I was pleased to find out that my new walking routine doesn't only help keep me fit and healthy but that from 4/1/09-10/31/09, Bumble Bee Foods will donate $0.15/mile for every mile I log on at BeeWell Miles to help Breast Cancer Network of Strength provide emotional support to those who can't wait for tomorrow's cure. It's really easy to do and anyone can do it, even you! Just register on the website and BeeWellMiles provides you with all the resources that you need to make the most of your walk. There, you can interact with top healthy living experts and share your favorite walking/ running routes with other members. You can calculate how many calories you've burned, even your mileage along your route. But the best part of this great website is the fact that each day, the miles you log contribute to Breast Cancer Network of Strength, an organization that provides immediate emotional relief to anyone affected by breast cancer, because cancer isn't just a physical battle, it's an emotional one as well. Oh! And another bonus that I didn't mention is that each day you log in, you have a chance at winning one of 15,000 great prizes! All this, just for doing something healthy like walking? It's JUST COOL!


gardens :: a polka dot walk

If you're looking for some cool landscaping ideas for your garden this Spring then check out these! A different type of walkway that really makes a statement!

Aren't these unusual pavers neat? The Ellos floor cement tiles, designed by Renata Rubim and Débora Lacroix and produced by Solarium Revestimentos, a Brazilian company producing refractory cement wall and floor products was the winning design for the Prêmio Bornancini de Design 2008/ Surface Design Category. Imagine them planted with patches of herbs. And as a walkway I bet they are very comfy underfoot. Plus lets not forget the nifty polka dot factor going on.Very JUST COOL!

It's Spring! Finally!

green:: lawns get even greener

Even though Earth Day 2009 is over, making a concious effort to protect our Planet Earth has really just begun. Together, everyone can make a difference that will make a huge positive impact. That means changing the way we do a lot of things . It may be switching to recycled shopping bags and getting rid of the disposable plastics altogether, or just switching to CFL lightbulbs and being more concious of our energy usage. Going green also goes outside (but of course!) to things like organic gardening, composting, growing your own vegetables...even fertilizing your lawn! I just discovered a wonderful "green" product for the lawn called Ringer organic lawn fertilizer. No nasty chemicals that may have horrendous ill effects on our health and the earths health in this great product at all! And the benefits of using it on your lawn and garden is exponential as well. In addition to helping improve the environment and decreasing the chances of accelerated disease in your family, going organic can provide mental and physical benefits, long-term money-savings, and increased vitamin and mineral content in your soil, and you feel good knowing you are doing your part - even outside - to help the earth!One of Ringer's great products, ringer lawn restore, is an OMRI Listed® and compliant fertilizer for use in organic gardening. It naturally restores your lawn,by stimulating growth and killing weeds in a safe and natural way. Spring is here and it's time to get tending that lawn and time to fertilize, so why not do it the natural way!


green :: wasted waste bin

How about a waste basket made of waste? Recycled paper (that once was waste) ,that is . This cool waste basket is made of fifty recycled paper liners that stack inside of each other. Designers Riccardo Nannini, Domenico Orefice and Emanuele Pizzolorusso exhibited their waste paper basket made of recycled paper at exhibition Dismettiamola! in Milan this week.


When the bin is full , the filled top liner is thrown away (into another recycle bin ;) ) and the next layer is ready to collect more waste paper. The pleated cupcake liner shape can be produced easily and it looks JUST COOL too!

via Dezeen

on the web :: hacking to help

Hackers are here, are you ready for them? With the internet expanding so rapidly ,IT security has never been so necessary. So why not become a Certified Hacker?  How cool would it be to help companies tighten their online security and act kind of like an internet spy? Ethical Hacking is widely used by trained security officers, auditors, security professionals, site administrators, and anyone who is concerned about the integrity of the network infrastructure. A Certified Ethical Hacker is a skilled professional who understands and knows how to look for  weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems and uses the same knowledge and tools that a malicious hacker would use, but instead he uses that knowledge for the good - to keep the internet safe and secure. EC Council - IClass offers specialized training in this field as well as other IT fields. When you enroll in training you learn all about Security Fundamentals, Ethical Hacking, Penetration Testing, Computer Forensics
, Disaster Recovery, Secure Programming and much much more.The intense five day course is a CEHv6 Curriculum consisting of instructor-led training and self-study, at the end of which you will receive your certificate of completion and will be qualified to become a globally recognized Certified Hacker. Internet espionage sounds like a cool career to me and the  EC-Council  website makes it possible with all the online training it has to offer in  IT Security .



stairs :: to slide or fly?

What kid wouldn't love this? (and maybe we adults too?) A modern stair slide... 

but leave it to Aven to find the absolute best way to get from the top to the bottom

...he flies! That's my grandson for ya - he's JUST COOL!

employment :: help is out there

I'm so glad I can depend on my painting and writing to make my living, because in these trying economical times there are so many people out there who have lost their jobs, been laid off or are still searching for a job. Fortunately, there is  help. LIGHTSHIP RESEARCH takes the stress and agravation out of job hunting. Their business of finding employment for such individuals, generates direct access to the companies and the people who have the power to hire them. Just read this testimony!
I quit using recruiters since I ran into Lightship Research -http://www.lightshipresearch.com , the “reverse headhunters”. Now I found a way to control my own destiny instead of chasing black holes. I must say, in these days, it's seldom that I find any business or service doing anything right. These guys are an anomaly. When I first hired them, my computer got stolen at a Starbucks and  they gave me good advice on how to get reimbursed by my insurance company. My Team Leader drove 35 miles on a Sunday to get a copy of my resume emailed to Kinkos, so I could get it printed for a Monday interview that they had helped me get. This is the best investment I have ever made. They showed my how to get a job and helped me with every detail along the way. I am now a Vice President of Business Development for a fast growing banking software services firm.

T. Ogden, LA
If you are in the job market then you definitely should check them out!

art :: new painting - castle on the hudson

Okay so I was inspired to paint another H R P when Bob Bedford asked me to contribute to Hudson Valley Wine Magazine. Soooooo...I painted this one last week. Wouldn't it be fun to live in the old days for just a day - cut off from the internet, tv, phone, cars, the other side of the world etc.,etc. Could we stand it for only just a day? I think so ...and maybe more ;)

"Castle on the Hudson"

Check it out in my etsy shop!

wine:: hudson valley wine magazine+ my art!

The Spring issue of Hudson Valley Wine is out and it's a very special issue for two reasons! Well to me atleast ;) It celebrates the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's historic voyage down the majestic river that we now call "The Hudson" in the Spring of 1609 and it also features my painting "View of the Hudson" in it's lush and lavishly printed oversized pages. Thank you to the editors, Bob Bedford and Linda Pierro for graciously inviting me to share my art with their readers!

If you aren't familiar with this spectacular publication that covers the wine industry in the Hudson River Valley region, if you are a collector or a connoisseur of fine wines, or live in this scenic New York State region, then you have to pick up a copy of Hudson Valley Wine. An interesting fact - did you know that the Hudson River Valley region is the OLDEST wine producing region in the United States? I bet you didn't! This great magazine is the first publication dedicated to promoting the wines and winemakers of this region – the historic Hudson Valley.

Flint Mine Press publishes this issue in oversize format in heavy quality recycled paper and the articles include a history of the Hudson River region and it's vineyards and wineries, in depth profiles on area vineyards and wineries, articles on different grape varieties, this year's quadricentennial events and some fabulous recipes that showcase wine favorites. Check out it's website Hudson Valley Wine or pick up your free issue - official launch date April 22nd!

A magazine that is especially JUST COOL!

Oh and check out my latest Hudson River Painting here.


art :: magnification mask

Strange looking masks by Hyungkoo Lee. And this isn't the only strange stuff he does...

It's bizarrely JUST COOL!

pets:: flying safe

Finally! An airline that caters especially to your pet. Pet Airways is a new and unique air transport service for pets. Co founders, Dan Weisel and Alysa Binder got the idea when traveling with their dog, Zoe (who, btw bares a striking resemblence to Poppy Petunia!)

Instead of being treated like baggage in the cargo hold, your pet enjoys secured accomodations in the main cabin making for a safer, less traumatic trip for Fido and Fluffy. The "pawsenger" is checked in at the Pet Lounge at the airport, where a doting pet "attendant" will give him a potty break before boarding. On board the attendants are always present, attending to each pets every bark and meow. And if you want to check on how your pet is doing, a pet tracker is provided to monitor your pets trip.The airline has scheduled its first flight for cats and dogs on July 14th, and will serve five US cities - New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

So make your reservations now! Pet Airways - it's JUST COOL!

via BBC news

Medicine :: cord blood saving lives

Isn't it amazing how far medicine has come in the last one hundred years? I was just reading an article about how they are now collecting stem cells right at the dentists office from extracted tooth tissue. It's a very new procedure, so not readily available yet ,but there are other popular options for harvesting stem cells which have been successful in treating disease and saving lives, as well. One such way is through the collection of Cord Blood - blood from your child's umbilical cord when he/she is born. The blood is collected and saved in a cord blood bank like Cryo-Cell International for future use. I first heard about this technology when my daughter in law gave birth to my first grandchild, Aven and she and my son, Josh, banked Aven's cord blood. To best explain it, banking cord blood is like a family insurance policy because cord blood stem cell transplants save lives. The transplants have been used to treat over seventy diseases, including numerous types of malignancies, anemia's, inherited metabolic disorders and deficiencies of the immune system.Whats more, with medicine advancing at such a rapid pace, the new technology may well use these cells to rebuild cardiac tissue, repair damage due to stroke or spinal cord injuries and reverse the effects of such diseases as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease. My dad died from Parkinson's - if this had been available 30 years ago, maybe he would be playing with his great grandson, Aven, today!

Here's testimonial from one of Cryo-Cell International's clients:
"My children are the most precious gifts that I will ever have and I want to do everything I can to make sure they are well. While I was pregnant with my first child, I would see articles and ads about cord blood and it bothered me that it was so expensive but what if I one day needed this blood. The reality of having only one chance or it really went in the garbage kept me wondering if I would regret not investing. What if he had cancer or his dad or I were sick, would that blood have been the cure? Through research, I came across Cryo-Cell International, Inc., a company with the most reasonable rates and the assurance of two holding facilities.

When I was pregnant with my second child, we wondered if one bank was enough? Finances were tighter and should we spend the money? Then we realized that his brothers blood might not match for the new baby. The next day, stories were breaking about how Cord blood had saved or changed the lives of children, one cancer, one cerebral palsy. Then we discovered that a friend was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. He didn't bank his daughters blood and wished he had. Three years prior, I lost a friend to renal cancer when she was 29. We felt like it was our answer.

We are just beginning to see miracles that this blood can bring. We have two "life insurance policies", that is how we look at it. If anyone in the family gets ill, there is a chance that the blood could save our lives. If we don't use it, then it is there for our son's children."

mother of Parker and Davis

Cryo-Cell International Client

( Oh and I forgot to mention, right now, if you enroll at Cryo Cell before 4/19/09 you can get a free Baby Bjorn !Now my little granddaughter Calla, would like that!)
Stuff like this is amazing - what a remarkable time we are living in!



art :: unusual snowglobes

Like most people, I love snow globes. And I love them even more when they are as unique, quirky and odd as these from the NY Artist team Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz.

Snow Globes 2000-2006

Traveler 204

Traveler 156 at Night, 2005 ©Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz

Traveler 46 at Night, 2003©Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz

Traveler 79 at Night ©Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz

The artists' created their "Travelers" Snow Globe series 2000-2007 to be no longer the "kitschy souvenirs" of childhood but instead dark, thought provoking narratives of human interaction, loneliness, alienation and the human condition.

Pretty JUST COOL...eh?? I think so!