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Archive for the month “July, 2010”

PR Weekend Philly 2010

– Smoking is prohibited on this flight, but if you’d like to smoke, please let us know and we’ll put you on the wings and say “Bye Bye Birdie”…
– If the cabin pressure drops, you’ll see the masks drop in front of you. Stop screaming and put one on. If you have a few kids, pick your favorite one and put on their mask before others.

I had a big smile on my face. And it wasn’t from the silly jokes the airline host cracked in a lame attempt to keep us entertained while sitting on the runway for an hour. Man… they will do anything these days. Its pathetic…

Ok back to the point. The reason for a big smile on my face was from having spent a fabulous weekend with Karen in Philly. Yes, I did make it to the PR Weekend, even if it was two months later. When I told Karen that I couldn’t make it in May, she invited me to come later and stay with her and “We’ll have a mini PR weekend for you”. And she was right!

You are not going to believe how much fun we crammed into just one day!

After a wonderful welcome from Karen and Mario on Friday we stayed up talking late (another PR Weekend tradition) and planned the next day.

We had a quick breakfast in a nearby cafe which had the most delicious coffee I’d had in a while (Yes, I know my java!) and headed straight to the Farmer’s market after a quick stop at a “Porch Sale”. Karen and Mario live in the historic neighborhood of Philadelphia which sadly is being eaten up slowly by the University but there is still a lot to absorb there. I was fascinated by the architecture and the personality of the houses. When I admitted to Mario that at one point in my life I wanted to be an architect, he took me to the neighboring lane where all the houses had painted porches. It was amazing!

As the mercury kept rising, we refreshed ourselves with some free samples at the farmer’s market and explored the adjoining Flea market. A teal necklace found it’s new home 🙂

We were now headed to the famous South Street where other PR weekend volunteers were joining us for lunch and some Fabric Shopping! Yup, it is PR Weekend alright 🙂

Ok by this time, we’re completely soaked and marinating in our own juices (Sorry for the mental picture). So we spotted a fountain and I encouraged Karen to go in! Wow that was awesome. We cooled off and by then it was time for lunch.

But wait, I almost forgot. On the way to South Street, Karen showed me the historic sites – The independence Hall, the old Tavern. We even saw the Sheraton where you guys were staying for the PR Weekend. What a great location.

At the fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant Mimi, Annette, Elaine and Lee joined us. What a great group you guys were! After a great lunch of Falafel and Hummus (one of the best in Philly) we headed towards The Fabric Row.

Our first stop was Kincus Fabrics and guess what? I found the ONE piece of fabric I wanted to take from this trip. It was a lovely teal and brown cotton. But since all the other stores were also on the same block, I kept it back and decided to come back if I didn’t find anything else.

Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet was awesome! “You never know what you’ll find here” said Karen. And sure enough, I found a couple pieces of remnant fabric to make this Burda dress 🙂 Karen convinced me that remnants don’t count towards my ONE fabric rule so I bought it. I’ll write a full review of these stores on PatternReview.com

Andrea joined us after a few hours (the queen of last minute sewing, she was working on a dress for dinner)

and while the others headed back, Karen, Andrea and I walked around for a few hours and saw one of the most amazing forms of art. The “Magic Garden” is the creation of Isaiah Zagar, a Mosaic artist. He proves that art has no specific form. It can be found pretty much everywhere as long as you open your eyes to the possibilities. What an artist! If you are in Philadelphia this is something not to be missed.

Here’s another thing not to be missed… If you are a shoe lover you just HAVE to enter this store Bus Stop. The owner of this store hand picks the shoes she carries and each one of them is drool worthy. We spent a GOOD amount of time in there trying many shoes. Karen in fact refused to remove the shoes she tried on and in the end, they had to go home with her 🙂 Oh this was so much fun!

We headed back to Karen’s house where we freshened up and changed into dry clothing for dinner 🙂 Mario and Karen had made reservations for us at their favorite Italian restaurant and we were famished by that time. When the owner brought us our food and I took the first bite, Karen exploded into giggles looking at the expression on my face. Yup, I was in food heaven. Never before had I tasted gnocci so delicious.
The lovely couple

We walked off those calories as the local crew showed me the old city of Philadelphia. And guess what? We ran into an open air concert at Penn’s Landing. What a beautiful way to end a fabulous day.

You’d think that after having had such a long day we would drop dead when we reach home. Wrong! A cold shower brought me back to life and this is my favorite part of this weekend – We stayed up till 1 AM talking!!! Yup it is after all a PR Weekend.

Sunday morning – we played dress up! I requested to look at all the awesome stuff Karen makes and she agreed. I even tried a few dresses on and I am now convinced that I need to make most of them 🙂 And finally you are not going to believe this. Karen said “You must try this dress on, if it fits you, it’s going home with you”. And my lucky stars… it did, beautifully, so now I have a new dress and the best memory from this weekend.

I wore that dress to breakfast and folks THAT is the reason, I am still smiling 🙂 What a wonderful and memorable weekend to spend with friends, food and shopping! At breakfast when Mario pointed out that we were giggling like girls, I said “It is very important to keep the GIRL alive, so we are” 🙂

Karen and Mario thanks for a wonderful PR Weekend and thanks to Andrea, Mimi, Annette, Elaine and Lee for braving the 100 degree weather and hanging out with us. It made it so much more special for me!

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Week 3: Cambridge – When it Rains, it pours, and it floods, and it breaks….

Well technically it is week 4 but I wasn’t in Cambridge much last week so no time to explore. Ok so you know New England has been hit with a heat wave the last couple weeks. Well this week it rained. And boy did it rain or what. So I thought that’s what I’ll write about. Rain in the city, the joys (not) of getting rained on.

Flash floods in Cambridge

Lesson 1: There is a reason people don’t keep cars in the city. When it rains, they stay home! or wear the raincoats and go out on foot. They most certainly do not drive!

After getting completely drenched walking home from the T, we decided we will drive back home and do some chores. Yeah right!

So as we drive out from our street, we’re like “this is not so bad”. “Not so fast”, a voice in my head said. Just ahead of us was a street which was flooded and there was water up to our knees. Since it was too late to turn around (there were cars behind and in front), we decided to brave it. BAD IDEA!
Car in front of us

The car stalled, we started the engine again and somehow got it out of the mess and parked it to the side. It was too late. Something was really wrong, the car started making really bad noises and look at all that smoke coming out of the exhaust.
Smoke? Steam?

Long story short, the car’s gone! It had to be towed to our car dealer which ended up costing us a lot!
Oil leaked from the car

on the tow truck.

We called up our insurance and when we described what happened, she said “We might just have to call it a loss!” It’s a new car! Oh well, it is what it is. Atleast we have the other car and since Gagan doesn’t need it right now, I can drive it.

On our way to the car dealer, the tow truck driver gave us lot of tips to talk to the insurance agency. When I asked, could we have done anything to avoid this, he said “No”. When the water got into the engine when it was hot, it cracked it. All the oil leaked out and now its toast. Even if we didn’t restart the car, it would have been the same. So I don’t feel so bad. He was quite helpful actually. Like I said.. kindness and greatness is all around us.

The whole Cambridge/Somerville area was flooded in just half an hour of rain!

From CNN: Heavy rains cause flash floods in greater Boston area

Oh well, At least we made it home safe, thanks to my friend Emily who picked us up from the Car Dealer and dropped us home. Monday morning the ordeal starts 🙂 But… I am not going to complain. It happens, what are you going to do?

The Rule of TEN

If you are one of the 10 people who read my blog, you probably already know that I am the founder and president of PatternReview.com, an online sewing community I started 9 years ago. I’ve been asked on multiple occasions what a typical day working behind the scenes on PR looks like. I never quite know how to answer that because the truth is, I don’t know! Each day brings with it many things, sometimes expected and many times totally unexpected and out the blue which catch me off-guard. But that is the joy of running a community.

One e-mail or a phone call can completely change the way the rest of the day goes but it’s how the world works and I’ve embraced it.

So yesterday when I was feeling especially stressed and drained splitting my energy and focus on many things at once, an email sent to me changed not only my day but the way I think. And so thought provoking were those words, that it made me want to share this with you. Now since it was sent privately to me, I will not quote the sender but I do want to share some of her thoughts.

The sender expressed her enthusiasm about the site (PR) and the joy she gets out of it. She went on to explain her “Rule of Ten” which she has followed for the last 35 years. According to her rule of ten, if she hasn’t expressed her gratitude and appreciation towards a person or an organization she is involved with at least TEN times, she does not allow herself to complain about them even if she feels her complaint is justified.

That e-mail put a pause on my day and my thoughts and I started to think how many complaining thoughts have I had since I woke up? Too many, I am embarrassed to admit.

And I stopped…

We are surrounded by greatness. We just need to learn how to see it. The sender of the e-mail to begin with. And that my friends, is what is so awesome about running PatternReview. While I started the site because I wanted to learn how to sew, over the last 9 years, I have learned way more than how to sew a jacket. And as PR approaches it’s 10th anniversary, I feel grateful, and lucky to have had the chance to learn from so many of you. For learning never stops. Not now, not ever.

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