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Picture 13

girl

China celebrated its 60th anniversary a few weekends ago.  So I took a long weekend and celebrated by journeying into mainland China…to CHENGDU, in the heart of Sichuan Province (about 3 hours from HK by plane).

Sichuan/Szechuan is famous for its SPICY FOOD. The kind of intense in your nostrils, teary eyed HOT that numbs your whole mouth. They also still practice some of the most elaborate rituals surrounding tea drinking customs in all of China … and are you ready?? Most importantly, Sichuan is home to China’s PANDAS.

panda1

Eight year old Stephanie has been waiting for this moment all her life.  They are so CUDDLY and HUGGABLE and LOVEABLE! I laughed, I cried, I took over 400 pictures, I could have stayed for days, I fell in love. I had to be torn away. I bought a panda costume from the gift shop, and now am going to be cuddly and huggable and loveable for Halloween. hahaha. Its True.
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Picture 5

On my recent trip to Amsterdam I was very inspired by the picturesque city.

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Wooden shoes: the precursor to the steel-toed boot.

grafitti 2

One of the many political charged slogans near the University.

view from room 2

The beautiful terra-cotta rooftops.

cheese copy

The Dutch love their cheese …

ilove my bike 2

but not as much as their bikes!

city living

HK rooftop

Living in small city apartments has always inspried creative uses for conserving and creating more space. The best method I believe is converting rooftops into patios and outdoor living areas. In Hong Kong, an apartment with roof access is usually considered the crown jewel of real estate. With warmer temperatures all year long, a great rooftop is a wonderful place to entertain friends and familys, hold bbqs and just step away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city streets. Out of my bedroom window I can view my neighbors rooftop (see below) which is absolutely breathtaking.


HK rooftop 2

(For the record, I have never ONCE seen them use said rooftop which is just a shame). Note the built in stone bench, the Large Potted plants. The enclosed space to shield from rain (as Hong Kong is also known for its overcast skys during typhoon season), is made out of bamboo a favorite building material in this country. If I were the owner of this rooftop not only would I be throwing a lot more rooftop parties and all out shindigs, I would also spice up the plants with more color. On my own rooftop I have a beautiful bougainvillea bush which is easy to maintain and blooms with these spectacular pink blossoms all summer long. Sunflowers, daisies, or a lilac bush are also great ideas for some cheerful color. For the green thumb, a small garden is also an idea, even if it is just herbs. Or for the un-green thumb, maybe a rock garden. Most importantly these ideas don’t require a rooftop and can easily be translated to a more suburban tradition of a patio. No matter what you choose … Happy Roofing!

—Stephanie Hauk

Ms. Hauk is a native Clevelander, but is guest bloging from Hong Honk. She is obsessed with all things beautiful. See her blog here http://vicioushawk.blogspot.com/

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