Sunday, May 29, 2016

Small production


What makes a book a book? Is it a smell? A review on Amazon? Is it a download? Bestseller lists aren’t the place to find small production books, but this genre of literature was the focus of the recent exhibit Welcome: Page by Page at The Center for Photography at Woodstock.



On display during this springtime exhibit were books printed in small batches, an effort by the artist to bind and preserve their work of words or photos. Viewers were encouraged to pick up and flip through the displays, and topics included poetry, photography, dreams and travel.  


The non-profit Center for Photography At Woodstock was founded in 1977 and has a workspace, library, darkroom, regular workships and classes. They also offer fellowships to regional artists who work with photography or related media.


Center for Photography at Woodstock: www.cpw.org

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Love doctor

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”
-Fyodor Dostoevsky

In a culture saturated by words, self-expression and communication, one would think old sayings about things left unsaid would become obsolete. We don’t want to be that person who chronically blurts out too much information, and at the same time we fear regret or suffering the consequences of not saying what we mean. Almost all of us have been in both pairs of shoes.

Enter Sheila Pearl, relationship coach and professional speaker. Her Newburgh-based practice, Mind-Body-Spirit Connections, is all about communication. She focuses on relationship and life transitions coaching, and offers services as a non-denominational and inter-faith life-cycle officiant, as well as her role as a keynote speaker, seminar leader and workshop facilitator.

I’m lucky to know Sheila as a member of my Toastmasters group where she's a regular with her presentations on the topics she works with every day: romance, aging, sensuality, self confidence and life transitions. I recently took part in her monthly Girl Talk series. About a dozen women from all walks of life joined Sheila at Sweet Pea’s CafĂ© in New Windsor for a candlelit wine-filled workshop about identifying the erotic. We split into small groups as Sheila guided us through erotic and exotic scents, food, clothing, music, and more. Examining your personal preferences is a study in self reflection. In October of last year, Sheila released her book, Ageless & Sexy: The Magic of Sensuality--A Love Story. Its protagonist Stella, who makes a long and overdue journey in sensuality, was referenced throughout the night.

Sweet Pea’s opened their space that evening specially for us with a Middle Eastern menu: Pitas and homemade hummus with olives; curry chicken salad with yogurt, apples, and grapes sprinkled with cashews and honey.;tikka masala chickpea stew and potatoes; and dragon fruit and cream puffs with honey and cinnamon for dessert.  


Owner Kim McDonnell opened Sweet Pea's in 2013, but then lost everything in a fire 6 months later... on Friday the 13th. She later reopened in a bigger, colorful, and music-inspired space filled with art and the occasional live music. Kim serves breakfast and lunch: yogurt & granola, breakfast burritos, salads, sandwiches, wraps, strawberry and banana stuffed croissants, and lots of music-inspired dishes like Three Little Birds (fresh turkey, homemade cranberry infused mayo, sharp white cheddar & sliced green apple sandwich) and It’s a Beautiful World (albacore tuna, calamata olives, tomatoes, red onion with light olive oil & lemon dressing).

Sheila’s message of self-awareness and Sweet Pea’s story of rebirth combined for an evening that focused on community and regeneration.  

Ageless & Sexy: www.amazon.com/Ageless-Sexy-Magic-Sensuality-Story/dp/0996786503
Sweet Pea’s Cafe: www.sweetpeascafeinc.com