Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Clear Bathroom

This is a bathroom at the Fairmont Hotel in Singapore. I thought it was an ingenious way to treat a small bathroom--everything was glass, even the counter top.  It probably isn't practical for a home bathroom because not only would the glass counter be hard to maintain, the design only works if you can keep it as sparse and neat as a hotel bathroom--meaning no toiletries on the counter, or any other clutter that comes with regular life. 

But it works for a hotel where you'd probably spend only a few days, and keeping it neat and clean isn't really your problem.

I like the idea of the shower being partitioned off together with the bathtub. It's a space saver that also allows more elbow room while showering. Notice too that the shower controls are on the wall nearest the stall opening--you can turn on the water before even getting under the shower.

The glass partition of the toilet doesn't serve any purpose except to terminate the glass counter which would otherwise be floating, exposing an unsafe sharp corner.

The all-glass strategy makes this bathroom feel spacious. What I also found very interesting were the vanity lights. The whole mirror protruded about 5 inches from the wall, creating a space to embed a fluorescent tube on each side. A narrow frosted glass panel is hinged from the inside and opens up like a cabinet door for easy access to the bulb. Flat chrome strips form a border on it tying it into the main mirror.  I thought the application was pretty clever specially since it's hard to source sleek vanity fixtures.

I kept telling myself I needed to photograph the details but kept putting it off. Now I don't have those pictures.

Before coming to the Fairmont, we were at the Marina Bay Sands, which I admit is very impressive, but is also circus-like with so many people walking through the lobby. Since the place is massive, the elevators can be a trek away depending on which tower your room is located.

In comparison, the Fairmont is compact so more design tricks are needed to create a feeling of spaciousness, like this "clear" bathroom. After being in the middle of all the activity at the busy Marina Bay Sands, I appreciated the intimate feel of the smaller and quieter Fairmont.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lied Discovery Children's Museum, Las Vegas

The kids were looking forward to visiting the Lied Children's Discovery Museum. While driving to this place the day before, I erroneously drove into another driveway and we ended up at the Las Vegas Natural History museum. We went there instead. They enjoyed that, but their hearts were set on Lied (pronounced LEED) so they made sure I drove into the right parking lot this time.

Lied is located north of the strip. I was actually surprised that Las Vegas had something like this for kids. Our first experience with a "Discovery Center" was in Honolulu many years ago. The girls absolutely loved it (and still do), so when I found Lied online four  years, I knew we had to visit.

The girls didn't remember being here in 2008 (that's one of the main reasons I write this blog--I want them to remember where we went--and of course I want to remember too!). Here they are four years ago...

They're growing faster than I can blog.  Stop growing until I catch up with the posts, guys!

I appreciated this plumbing display. You pretend to be a plumber and connect the pipes. So that's how they are connected inside the walls! Now if only they also showed how the drains work.

 I can't seem to find this wall niche contraption for the washing machine here in Manila.

There's an airport set up here too. They get to push suitcases through security.

The bubble stations hold their attention for a really long time. I have to remind there that there are other things to see and do.

This display about food was useful for me.  You choose food cards and put them on the plates, and the calories are added up on the screen. It shows you the calorie effects of choosing your food wisely. I wanted the kids to spend time here,  but they ignored me.

This picture above is, for me, the most useful display for adults in the whole museum. Based on this, a standard restaurant serving in an American restaurant should be able to feed a whole family of four.

On one side of the second floor, there's an art room offering a daily craft. The girls love being creative so they plopped in and did the featured craft--a dragon head made out of scrap colored paper. After twenty minutes, they were back out exploring.

This place is a bit worn, but it's still amazingly fun for them. Kids, unlike adults, don't really notice aesthetics as long as they can play.  But look, a  brand new center is going to open in November and in a new location too.

I thought at 11 and 9, they would've outgrown their Discovery Center stage, but they still loved it. They always find something new, or they just play with something in a different way.  This is a fun way to entertain the kids in Las Vegas, without having to be near the casinos. Remember too that the Natural History museum is just across the street.

Lied Discovery Children's Museum

833 Las Vegas Boulevard North
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 382-3445

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My First Time on Jet Blue

I checked on my airline options from New York to Las Vegas. My choices were the usual: Delta, Virgin, United, American Airlines. Then there was Jet Blue, Spirit and a couple of others I never heard ok.  I was intrigued by the cheapness of Spirit, but Jet Blue had the perfect departure time for me. The others cost a bit more for the date I wanted.

Spirit had lousy reviews online and Jet Blue had good ones. I booked Jet Blue on my credit card and looked forward to flying this "new airline."

printing out my boarding pass

Jet Blue has its own terminal in New York and I was impressed as soon as I entered. I had checked-in online the night before and with the information on my iPhone, went to print my own boarding pass instead of standing in line. A Jet Blue staffer near the self-check stands cheerfully walked me through it.

There were lots of food choices in the terminal including a high end food court serving slow food.  There was a steakhouse, a French restaurant, and a few more others uncommon to airports. I chose one called Deep Blue, ordered edamame and duck noodle soup, then surfed on the free airport wifi.

I should've tried using these internet stations below. The screen advertised that you could order food without leaving the computer, and your order would be brought to you, your surfing uninterrupted. But I only saw the computer terminals as I was walking to my gate.

And when did vending machines get so upscale? Look at this one here from Best Buy. You could buy a phone, a camera, earphones--practically anything you needed on a trip! There was also a vending machine for toiletries, and one for medicines. I'm sure would've bought a few things had I seen these machines earlier--just for the heck of it.

 These are the toiletries at the W in Bali. Good I got them every day...

Was so tempted to buy this because I left mine at home

If mom was with me, she would've done her pasalubong shopping right at these vending machines. I was so impressed with Jet Blue and I hadn't even boarded the plane.

I had a comfortable window seat which wasn't as cramped as those of other airlines, or maybe I was just biased at this point.

I watched a few documentaries, read my kindle, and edited my iPhoto. In a few hours, we were flying over what looked like Death Valley in Nevada, and close to landing (little did I know we were going to be driving through it in a few days).

I was very happy with my Jet Blue choice. Proves once again that a little online research reaps good-experience rewards.

I'd definitely fly Jet Blue again.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Antiques Garage in Chelsea

As if my sister hadn't had enough at Hell's Kitchen, I insisted we go to the Antiques Garage in Chelsea. I've been there a number of times and in the past, have bought a dozen old-fashioned cut-glass liqueur glasses for $40.  My sister also bids for sterling silver on eBay so I knew she'd enjoy this better than Hell's Kitchen.

I read somewhere that there was a $1 shuttle that went from Hell's Kitchen to the Antiques Garage and vice-versa, but when I asked a dealer at Hell's Kitchen about it, she didn't know about it and told me to just take a cab.  Nine dollars later we were at the Antiques Garage. It was a relief to be out of the sun.

The Antiques Garage is a regular parking garage during weekdays. It converts into a flea market venue on weekends.

I didn't have a burning desire for anything in particular. In fact, I find that photographing things I like and having an image is almost like owning it. The practice reduces clutter at home and was an epiphany I had after having my own garage sale at home a couple of months back.

After going aroundt the flea market twice and just biding my time, my sister came to me and whispered enthusiastically "I think I just saw Lucy Liu!"  It was her turn to drag me to a stall, where we pretended to look at old crocheted doilies, but were really trying to get a better look at a woman wearing a rose-gold Rolex (my jewelry-loving sister was admiring the watch and then realized it was attached to the wrist of Lucy Liu)

"Lucy" was being low-key under a hat, but those unusual almond eyes and freckles were just  too...Lucy Liu-ish.  It definitely was her! She was looking at miniature musical instruments inside a glass case. The vendor looked like a friend of hers. My niece, who was probably bored by now, got into the action and started stalking her too, trying to build up the courage to ask for a snapshot.

We left without buying anything, and without a Lucy Liu snapshot. I was happy and content having "window-shopped" the flea market. My sister and niece were happy with their celebrity sighting. It was a good Sunday.

The one that got away...

Antiques Garage
112 West 25th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues
Saturday and Sunday 6:30 am to 5:00 pm


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