Monday, March 24, 2014

Safari #87: Creating Art at the ICA's Art Lab

A few weeks ago, I dropped into the ICA's Art Lab - a space that allows you to explore your creative side using a current gallery piece or artist as inspiration.  With a moderator available to assist you, you can choose your inspiration, grab an activity bag full of supplies, and create something of your very own.

My inspiration came from artist Phillp Taaffe.  Using perspective and a sample within the gallery, I was able to try my hand at creating a perspective of my own.

As you are reading this post, you might be wondering - is this geared more towards kids? Heck no!  During my visit, there were people of all ages tapping into their own creativity.  I encourage you to tap into yours and visit as soon as you can.

My Tips
  • Go Now!  The Art Lab now features work by Nick Cave. If you haven't seen this new exhibit yet, be sure to visit and then head to the Art Lab to try your hand.
  • Be Flexible. The Art Lab is open Thursdays from 5pm to 9pm, and 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.  Free with museum admission. And of course, if you visit on Thursday, it's free.
  • Make a day of it.  With great spots nearby in Fort Point (Drink, Tavern Road, Row 34, and Blue Dragon to name a few), why not stay in the area?
Many thanks for Anshul and Jen for joining me!

 **Art Lab image kindly borrowed from

Monday, January 20, 2014

Safari #86: Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

I finally had a chance to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner for Third Thursdays this past week.  I had such a great time that I can't wait to again soon.

The museum itself (if you haven't been) is the personal collection of the museum's namesake.  Isabella Stewart Gardner had an amazing appetite for art, and she built the museum on Louis Prang Avenue to house her collection.  Today, visitors can enjoy her works and attend special events, such as Third Thursday.

In 2012 the new wing of the museum opened offering an onsite cafe, bookstore, library, performance hall and other educational spaces.  Third Thursday embraces these new spaces with fun and creative activities.  In addition, cocktails are served on the ground floor of the museum.  During my trip themed Midwinter Tropics, we created succulent gardens using an assortment of plants, mosses and other decorative elements.

One of the evening's highlights was artist Victoria Shen's Modernist Manicures. These tiny creations embraced Victoria's vision of accessible art; viewers can sometimes find modern art difficult as it challenges our traditional understanding of art.  Victoria's masterpieces make modern art more understandable through personal interaction and ultimately by allowing the viewer to wear it.

Here's a short video of the finished work:


**Image of the interior courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum kindly borrowed from

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Safari #85: Cathedral of St. John the Divine

I just love it when my out of town adventures have connections to Boston.

The Upper West Side of Manhattan is home to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine - the 4th largest church in the world.  Whenever I  leave the city, I always pass it (mouth agape) as I make my way up Amsterdam Avenue.  For years, I've wondered about the interior. Until now.

I recently took a climbing vertical tour of the church that highlights the art and  architecture as you make your way up. The details of the construction are unbelievable, and if you've read my other art and architecture related posts for Boston and New York, some of the connections I'm about to mention are incredible too.

The Cathedral was designed by George Lewis Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, son of John LaFarge, the famous designer of the stained glass windows in Trinity Church.  Both met while studying at MIT and worked with Henry Hobson Richardson, the architect of Trinity Church.  In addition, the numerous vaulted ceilings inside the church were designed by none other than Rafael Guastavino, one of the designers commissioned to work on our own Boston Public Library as well as the tiled vaults of the NYC Subway's City Hall Station.

I'm always amazed to see how interconnected our cities are using the lens of art and architecture.  I hope this post inspires to you climb to new heights this year, travel outside of your comfort zone, and discover new connections.

My Tips:
  • Check out the Tours! The Cathedral is open to the public, but to get the best view, sign up for a tour.  Our docent was informative and friendly, and I never thought I'd see the roof from above the church itself!
  • Afraid of Heights? The Vertical Tour might not be for you.  If you decide to go, you can walk back down at any time.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I'd recommend sneakers or something with a rubber sole.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Safari #84: Fort Independence on Castle Island

On Columbus Day weekend, my boyfriend made the excellent suggestion of heading to Castle Island in Southie for a stroll.  When we arrived, we found ourselves drawn to Fort Independence, and before we knew it, were signed up to join a tour.  Little did we know that it was the last tour of the season.  Lucky us!

Fort Independence is the oldest continually fortified site in North America, and today, visitors can take a free guided tour to learn more about its military history during the Revolutionary war as well as World War II.  Our tour guide, Dan Burns, was friendly, informative, and did a wonderful job of incorporating the children on tour into his presentation. 

I think they had just as much fun as we did.

My tips:

  • Follow the rules.  The only way into the fort is via a guided tour, and visitors are asked to remain with the tour group at all times.
  • Bring Your Camera. If the day is sunny, you'll love the views of the Boston Harbor islands as well as the skyline.  Don't forget your zoom lens! 
  • Make a donation.  The Castle Island Association is entirely volunteer based and is able to operate tours thanks to donations from the community.  Be sure to make a donation to keep this great programming running.
  • Visit on Halloween.  Fort Independence hosts a one of a kind Halloween spectacular every year.  Members of the local community decorate the halls as well as pass out candy.
  • Eat at Sullivan's. It's a Southie landmark, so get a quick snack served with Bahwstin style. 
**First kindly borrowed from Second image courtesy of Anshul Jain.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Safari #83: Whale Watching with Boston's Best Cruises

Call me Ishmael (or Cristy, if you please).

It was high time that I got to sea to catch a glimpse that elusive creature - and Boston's Best Cruises was there to help make it happen.

This past Sunday, I took a 3.5 hour cruise to Stellwagen Bank, part of the larger Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a federally protected marine sanctuary that begins in the mouth of the Massachusetts Bay and sits between Cape Ann and Cape Cod.  Stellwagen Bank is ideally situated on a plateau pulling rich nutrients and phytoplankton from the deep and raising them to the surface.  Due to this key feature, the area is a popular feeding ground for whales.  Our cruise ship was on an adventure to find feeding whales including humpback and Minke. 
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Sadly, while the weather was perfect, we did not see any whales.  Even though I was disappointed, I was happy knowing that I would get to enjoy another whale watch compliments of Boston's Best Cruises policy. If you go on a watch and don't see any whales, you get a voucher to return and try another time.

I'll be sure to share an update once I go on the next watch.

My tips:
  • Bring a Jacket.  Regardless of the temperature, bring a jacket to make yourself comfortable. The water temperature at the time of my trip was 61 degrees, and with the winds, things got fairly chilly.
  • Bring a snack. In an effort to make your trip the most comfortable, Boston's Best allows you to bring your own beverages and snacks if desired. There are concessions available as well serving beer, soft drinks, bottled water, and food.
  • Consider Help. Boston's Best provides complimentary ginger ale and sickness bags should you start to feel ill while on board.  It is also recommended to sit on the first deck of the ship as this tends to experience less swaying and bouncing as opposed to the top deck.  If you are generally sensitive to boat rides, you may also want to consider taking Dramamine just before the cruise gets underway.  
**Image kindly borrowed from Boston's Best Cruises

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Safari #82: Manicure Monday at the Liberty Hotel

The approach of Monday morning elicits nearly the same response from everyone.  

This summer, change your tune and turn your manic Monday into a manicure Monday - an evening to hang out with girlfriends and get a fresh coat of perfectly applied nail polish.  You'll be regenerated and refreshed to face the rest of the work week - in high style.

Held in the Liberty Hotel's Yard, you can nosh small bites, enjoy expertly made cocktails, and sit within the outdoor courtyard well encapsulated from the hustle and bustle.  Miniluxe, well known in the Boston area for its best in class, ultra hygenic nail services, will provide you with a free manicure.  You'll look so good when you leave that you won't even care about the fact that the week is only beginning. 

Manicure Monday's are held every Monday from 5:30 to 7pm (weather permitting) and continue through the last Monday in August.  Don't miss your chance!

My Tips
  • Sign In.  When you arrive, locate the attendant to place your names on the wait list.  While you wait, select your color and visit the bar.
  • Bring Cash.  Since the event is free, don't forget to tip your aesthetician as well as your server.
  • Hang out.  After your manicure is finished, stick around to dry off and take in the view.  Order a beverage while you're at it ;)
**Image kindly borrowed from Pop.Bop.Shop at

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Safari #81: Davis Flea Market

I love visiting vintage markets on Sunday afternoons.  I don't know if it's the thrill of the hunt or the excitement that I'm doing to discover something both awesome and inspiring.  I think it's both.

If you're looking for that just right sized table or extra glasses for the kitchen, visit the Davis Flea.  Located right in the heart of Davis Square, on Holland Street inside the municipal parking lot, this market focuses less on food items and clothing (even though both of those things are great too), and more on tchotchke's, glassware, furniture, lighting fixtures, mirrors, prints, vintage maps and other randomly inspired objects d'art.

If you have recently moved or are looking for something to inspire your pad, be sure to visit.  If you have extra time on your hands to include brunch too, try Johnny's D's.  The jazz brunch was fun, and the food and crowd were great too.