Jaunts

The joy of assembling bicycles for the children of U.S. Service Members during Fleet Week 2017!

I am walking on sunshine today…despite the non-stop rain and fog in Manhattan because I had the honor of volunteering with the USO today!

When my friend of 30+ years, who also happens to be a Veteran, retired Commander in the United States Navy and pilot for Delta, invited me to join the Delta Team to assemble bikes for the kids of U.S. Service Members, I jumped at the chance.

 

The USO’s ” Operation That’s My Ride” at Pier 88 on the Hudson River yielded approximately 500 bikes and tricycles for the children of military families serving on bases and ships.  The USO and its terrific sponsors (see below) made it very easy for a bicycle assembling novice like me to partner up with my friend (who is used to these types of tasks because he has 2 amazing daughters) and the feeling of accomplishment coupled with the thought of the smiles on the faces of the recipients were truly fantastic.

The bike assembly was followed by a tour of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), from Norfolk, Virginia during which I met proud Marines. It was really great.

Here are a few photos from this special event.

    

SPONSORS: Delta, Pepsi, SOMPO International, 21st Century Fox, Blackrock, Citi, Toyota, HBO & PWC.

Remembering the 1966 Florence Flood

2015 - Il Duomo

2015 – Il Duomo

Adoring Firenze passionately is somewhat of a pastime at The Candi Dish! It is a magical city that exudes charm, transcendent beauty and unique history: some obvious (IL DUOMO,) and some hidden (VASARI CORRIDOR). One significant and devastating piece of history occurred exactly 50 years ago today. On November 4, 1966, after a long period of steady rain the Arno River flooded Firenze. The flood took the precious lives of people and destroyed millions of masterpieces.

With RestoPresto on the Arno!

With RestoPresto on the Arno!

At its highest, the water reached over 22 feet in Santa Croce. If you have been to Florence, this statistic is quite shocking.

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Basilica di Santa Croce

Here are 2 photos that I took last year that show one of the “high water mark” signs from 2 different angles on the side of a building in the Oltrarno.

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Close up of the “high water mark” sign that reads: “Qui arrivo la piena dell’Arno”

 

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The “high water mark” sign on the side of a building in the Oltrarno.

My first of many visits to Firenze was in 1992 when I entered the Florida State University International Program Study Abroad Program that summer. I was in love with the city immediately and can honestly say that my 6 weeks in Firenze changed my life in the most wonderful ways. The FSU Florence Program is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as well which means that the first round of students experienced the Arno flood in November 1966. There is a wonderful documentary by Breanna Bruner interviewing former students who were there in 1966 and how they became Angeli del Fango (“Mud Angels) – here is a link to the video: https://youtu.be/Ymf92c4cm0Q

I am proud to be a FSUIP Alum!

So today, 50 years later I honor the lives lost, the generous Angeli del Fango whose speedy volunteer efforts to save damaged pieces led to the restoration of many fine works of art and magnificent Firenze, herself.

If you are interested in a firsthand account of what was happening in Firenze after the flood, here is a terrific article by Jonah Jones via The Florentinehttp://www.theflorentine.net/lifestyle/2016/11/memories-1966-florence-flood/

For stunning photos of the flood, click on this link to the Foto Locchi site which has archived photos taken in Firenze following the disaster: http://www.fotolocchi.it/it/

 

Dishing KISSES….

Happy International Kissing Day from The Candi Dish!

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SWAK!

Happy 240th Birthday, America!

Dishing Independence Day wishes to my fellow Americans!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 240th Birthday to the USA! Here’s to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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The Declaration of Independence

Happy Father’s Day from The Candi Dish!

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To the Dads, Uncles, Grandfathers, Step-Fathers, Guardians, Fathers-in-law, Caregivers, Moms, Friends and those who take care of kids: we wish you a lovely Father’s Day!

Dishing Mother’s Day Wishes!

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Happy Mother’s Day to the wonderful Moms and Caregivers from The Candi Dish!

It might be April Fools’ Day but this sale is NO JOKE!

 

RPPouchesMat

Hi Folks,

As an inventor and small business owner, it is always a highlight when I can offer a bonus to my customers and prospective customers (in addition to providing them with a fantastic product, of course).

There is a 2-day FREE SHIPPING sale for all RestoPresto orders in the US on the online store: www.restopresto.com. Use code: NOFOOLING at checkout until midnight on April 2nd (EST). I hope that you take advantage of the free shipping and please pass this offer along to your friends & family! It is the perfect time to stock up on RestoPresto, which is THE must-have for spring & summer.

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Our model shows us how to wear RestoPresto as a hood, scarf and wrap…with snaps & drawstrings it is EASY to do!

RestoPresto® is a carefully designed product that converts from small pouch to a versatile extra layer providing numerous easy configurations when and how you need it in an instant. Equipping all ages during all seasons, indoors and outdoors with easy solutions wrap dup for all ages during all seasons indoors and outdoors. for impromptu and planned events. We proudly manufacture in the USA.

Click on the video below to see some of the ways that people use RestoPresto!

Happy Spring Equinox to the Northern Hemisphere!

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We, at The Candi Dish, are very excited that spring has sprung for several reasons:

  1. Manhattan is freshly wonderful during spring. The flowers. The breezes. The skip in New Yorkers’ steps!
  2. RestoPresto! The Candi Dish blog founder is the inventor of a great, clever convenience product called RestoPresto. It is a compact pouch that converts to a super soft, versatile extra layer to sit on, sit under & wear. It is the perfect portable gadget to seamlessly carry with you every day in spring, summer, winter & fall. The idea for RestoPresto was conceived during the spring so this season is extra special! Find out more and purchase a RestoPresto online here: www.restopresto.com
  3. This quote from Rainer Maria Rilke pretty much sums it up:
    “It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, may your spring be filled with all things wonderful! If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, may your fall be splendid!

All the best,
Candi

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Dishing 50th Anniversary wishes to Florida State University International Program’s Florence Study Centre

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It has been almost 24 years since I participated in the FSU Study Abroad Program in Florence and I can still honestly say that it was one of the best decisions that I was fortunate enough to make. I studied abroad during the summer between my junior and senior years of college and truly felt like I had hit the jackpot!

I remember the elation that I felt when I received my acceptance letter from the International Programs office in the mail (yes, a paper letter sent the old-fashioned way – see photo below). I remember the anticipation that kept me from sleeping on the overnight flight to Rome and when we touched ground in Firenze, I had that distinctive “I have arrived” feeling.

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Paper & snail mail in 1992!

Being surrounded by a language that is not mine, the aroma of garlic sautéed in olive oil wafting from the trattorias, vespas speeding through the narrow streets and astounding architecture, statues, art and adornments at every turn took my breath away and still does wherever I am in this beloved city. The six-week summer program flew by but I was able to immerse in the splendor, history and uniqueness of Firenze on a daily basis while being a part of the dynamic curriculum of the FSU program under the direction of the wonderful Dr. Victor Carrabino.

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Summer of 1992 at the FSU Study Centre on Borgo degli Albizi

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The adventure that I took over two decades ago opened my eyes, mind and senses to Italy and Italian culture. Happily, I have returned to Italy many times since then and while Firenze is my favorite city, I do know first hand that each town, each region and even each neigborhood in that delightful country is charmingly unique.

I had the superb pleasure of spending time in Firenze last September and was able to revisit my lengthy list of favorites. As a big enthusiast of strolling, as always, I veered off the main streets to explore and my list is even lenghtier now and filled with new discoveries. This visit was particularly special because I brought my invention, RestoPresto, with me. To be able to use my product, that I created from scratch, throughout a city that I hold close to my heart was really fantastic.

2015 - Il Duomo

2015 – Il Duomo

Excited to have my RestoPresto on the Arno!

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Florida State University International Program’s Florence Study Centre for which I am thankful for enriching my life!

Here’s to another happy 50 years!
Felice 50° Anniversario con amore da Candi (aka Caramella)!

New Orleans on my mind….

I have loved New Orleans for over 30 years.

Being able to have my product invention, which is incredibly important to me, with me in the beloved Crescent City during my past two visits was really special.

It was with pride that I took photos of something that I created from scratch (RestoPresto) in some fantastic spots around the Big Easy.

With New Orleans on my mind, I share the photos with you along with a blog repost from December 2013.

 

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Today is my Birthday and even though I am not there, I celebrate New Orleans, her people and all of her wonder!

“Old Spanish Stables” on Governor Nicholls Street in the French Quarter

“Old Spanish Stables” on Governor Nicholls Street in the French Quarter

 

New Orleans Part Deux “212 in 504”

Have you heard about the “never lefts”?  The people who visit New Orleans for a festival, convention or a weekend getaway and fall under her spell and stay.  Well, I have never lived in The Big Easy, but I am a spiritual “never left” and fall more in love each visit.

New Orleans is a “big city” that maintains a small town pace, which is fantastic for visitors because it means that you will not be rushed as you saunter and observe.

I have always said that New Orleans is the least American city in America in the most wonderful way because of its robust cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. To discover the magic of NOLA, one should always be looking up, down and from across the street.  There are hidden gems everywhere and you will notice something new even if you have passed the same block multiple times.

Surrounded by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, the Crescent City has about 70 neighborhoods. If you are a visitor with a limited amount of time, I highly suggest getting a map of the French Quarter and begin there with a walking tour (professionally guided or self-guided) to get to know the rich history, landmarks and architecture of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. The open container law allows you to imbibe as you sightsee (by foot, of course).

The “Go NOLA” free app caters to visitors and provides free celebrity-guided walking tours.  If you Tweet, then it is worth following NOLA handles on Twitter for news/updates while you are there: Visit New Orleans @VisitNewOrleans and New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau @NewOrleans.

I always stay at a hotel in the Vieux Carré and spend most of my time there because to me, the French Quarter is a little slice of heaven where you can do just about anything you want.

Creole Townhouse in the French Quarter

Creole Townhouse in the French Quarter

The Candi Dish Vieux Carré Favorites

Casual breakfast:  Vacherie on the corner of Toulouse and Dauphine (in the St. Marie Hotel).  Weather permitting; try to dine in the courtyard. The fried green tomato breakfast is excellent.

Casual Lunch:  Café Maspero on Decatur & Toulouse.  The rarity of finding a vegetarian muffaletta on the menu attracted me but this joint has something for everyone, is well-priced and good.

Casual Dinner:  The Gumbo Shop on St. Peter between Chartres and Royal captures creole cuisine very well. Jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbos galore, strong drinks and the staff is a trip!

Upscale Dinner:  Galatoire’s is a MUST.  On Bourbon & Iberville, it is a New Orleans institution, delicious and fun. The service is terrific but if you can get Peter (“Boston Strong”) as your server, then you are golden!

The Candi Dish favorite restaurant is GALATOIRE’S

The Candi Dish favorite restaurant is GALATOIRE’S

Musts for Cocktails + Ambiance:  * Revolving bar/Merry-Go-Round at the Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone, which is an official literary landmark (Hemingway, Faulkner, Williams, Capote), on Royal * Pat O’Brien’s is famous for a reason.  Originally a speakeasy, Pat O’Brien turned a small bar into a huge business. In the 1940s when all liquor except for rum was hard to come by, an experimental concoction called The Hurricane (served in a glass the shape of a hurricane lamp) was born! With its celebrated and fabulous courtyard, dueling pianos and fun specialty cocktails, it is easy to spend hours at Pat O’Brien’s * The Old Absinthe House on the corner of Bourbon and Bienville is over 200 years old, haunted and THE place to try an absinthe (Herbsaint) cocktail.

Fantastic fire pit in Pat O’Brien’s courtyard

Fantastic fire pit in Pat O’Brien’s courtyard

Dessert/Snack:  Café du Monde (open 24 hours a day) in the French Market for beignets and café au lait.  IT IS A MUST.

Pralines and candy:  Southern Candymakers (various locations).  Known for praline, try the salted caramel tortue.

Upscale Jazz:  Hearing (and seeing) Jeremy Davenport at the Davenport Lounge at the Ritz (Canal at Dauphine) on Thursday – Saturday evenings is bliss.  Mr. Davenport is as smooth and charming as his voice and trumpeting.

Bar-Hopping: Bourbon Street, of course.  It is gritty and fun! I love it. I love that I can dance to a cover band at The Famous Door and if I do not like the next song, can skip over to The Beach or Funky 544  (with the same drink in hand).  Bourbon Street is like your very own entertainment menu and you are a human remote control.  Enjoy it – there is nothing like it.

Other Highlights in the Quarter:  * After roaming the French Market, take a snack and drink towards Governor Nichols Street Wharf and have a seat overlooking the Mississippi River (you can hop on the Riverfront streetcar here as well) * Visit St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest practicing Roman Catholic Church in the US (built in 1727 and rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire in the 1850s). At night, go to St. Anthony Garden in the rear of the Cathedral to see the awe-inspiring shadow of a statue of Jesus projected by floodlights (between St. Ann and St. Peter on Royal) * Café Amelie, while established in 2005 has a 150-year old historic courtyard and carriage house.  I did not eat there but enjoyed a drink by the fountain while I mingled with locals and visitors. * For souvenirs and kitsch, I prefer shopping in the French Market & Decatur Street to Bourbon Street.  Antiques are everywhere, particularly on Royal Street.  Peruse the street art around the perimeter of Jackson Square.  * I like to walk “up”, “down” “towards the river” and “towards the lake” with a drink in hand checking out the shops, street tiles, architecture, people, and hand-painted soft clay molded tiles stating the name of the street when New Orleans was the Capital of the Spanish Province of Luisiana between 1762-1803.

Spanish tile of Calle del Hospital on what is now Governor Nicholls in the Quarter

Spanish tile of Calle del Hospital on what is now Governor Nicholls in the Quarter

Brief Candi Dish Tips on the Garden District

The second neighborhood to explore is the residential Garden District, which is overflowing with Southern charm.  Viewing the beautiful Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian style homes, gardens and LaFayette Cemetery No. 1 are musts.  Again, consider a guided walking tour to have a New Orleans expert show you the details that you would most likely miss on your own.

Dining in the Garden District:  Commander’s Palace on Washington is a Brennan classic.  Between the bright turquoise and white Victorian exterior, glass-encased Live Oak tree trunk in the middle of the floor, 25-cent martinis at lunchtime and its award-winning cuisine – you cannot go wrong!

Magazine Street is a delightful commercial area filled with places to eat, drink and shop. To explore the boutiques, antique malls and allure of Magazine, I suggest starting around 8th Street and working your way toward Felicity.  Right before you reach Felicity, cut across to St. Charles to catch the streetcar or walk back to the Quarter.  At Lee’s Circle, veer right and enjoy the architecture on Camp.

“Before I Die ____” Chalkboard in a parking lot off of Camp

“Before I Die ____” Chalkboard in a parking lot off of Camp

Jazz & A Streetcar Named Desire

For casual jazz in the evening, venture to Frenchman Street in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood:  The Spotted Cat, dba, Snug Harbor…just follow your ears.

Traveling on the St. Charles Streetcar (which connects uptown and downtown) is a great way to view part of the Warehouse District, Garden District, Audubon Park and the beautiful homes along St. Charles.  A popular route is to catch the Streetcar at the intersection of Canal Street & St Charles in the Quarter and hop off at Washington Avenue towards Prytania Street and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.  The streetcar fare is $1.25 or you can purchase the aptly named “Jazzy Pass” for unlimited use of streetcars and buses. In addition to the St. Charles Line there are 3 others: Canal Street, Riverfront and Loyola lines.

Every street has a story, every courtyard, every balcony, every building and of course, every person has a story.  Soak it up, enjoy every minute and geaux to New Orleans soon! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Frozen beverage & the mighty Mississippi River

Frozen beverage & the mighty Mississippi River

 

Please note that I was not compensated for this post.  My hope is to simply spread The Crescent City amour!

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