vernelle_noel_sketchsperiments

Hi All!!

So last week after some encouragement from my cousin (Clayton) and friend (Bob), I decided to work on a personal project I wanted to for some time, but never had the time. Thank you Google and Lynda.com for helping me with Dreamweaver! I built and designed my website featuring my artwork, my architecture sketches. Here it is – http://art.vernellenoel.com/index.htm

I have been working on it non-stop since Tuesday (they don’t call me an Insomniac for nothing!). I am happy to now tell you all that it is at a stage that I can share it with you. It is still a work in progress, BUT things are working. I still have many, many more sketches to upload, but things are up and running.

I wanted to push all I can as I begin my PhD in Architecture this Fall at Penn State University… in case I forgot to mention it to you all. In a few days my priority will be my work (PhD research and study), so I wanted to give this all I can with the remaining hours I had. I am happy and excited for it all! I am particularly excited about my Sketchsperiments! Check them out!

Thanks again for all your encouragement and kind words! Oh I love the interweb – ;-)

Vernelle Noel a.k.a Thinking Insomniac

http://art.vernellenoel.com/index.htm

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Now before I begin talking about Bikini Bar, I must show you one of my favorite spots and views on Sentosa Island, Singapore. My weekend spot. Now on to my review of Bikini Bar on the Siloso Beach walk, Sentosa.

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The Bikini Bar is located on the beach.

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 Entrance area of Bikini Bar. Waitresses are all clad in bikini tops.

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The view…

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The food – Potato wedges and a lime margarita. Both were good, especially the margarita in that HEAT of the Singapore sun. Whew!!

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Lychee margarita

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A close-up

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Check the view in the background… Beautiful yeah?

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Their spicy wings – really delicious! It’s my favorite thing to order there. A nice crisp on the outside, soft tender meat on the inside. The wings are filling.

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Strawberry margarita

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A close up

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A Singapore Sling

I forgot to mention, in Singapore, alcoholic drinks are usually very, very weak (Singapour a friend of mine once said). Drinks are like juice, barely any taste of alcohol. Bikini Bar however is not like that. The alcoholic drinks, are actually alcoholic drinks. Thank you!!

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Colors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Nicely garnished I would say..

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More views – relaxing and beautiful! I would always wait for the sunset before leaving…

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Bikini Bar is one of my favorite spots in Singapore. I thank Jason – who I think manages the spot – for always making sure his guests are well taken care of.

  1. Food – GREAT
  2. Service – Good
  3. Ambiance – GREAT
  4. View – FANTASTIC!! (anything else would be almost impossible)
  5. Music – GREAT!

Here’s a ink to the restaurant – http://www.bikinibar.sg

Have a great one!

Thinking Insomniac.

 

 

Bryant Park, New York

Sketching in Bryant Park… this was my work in progress. It has been completed and I will share it with you soon. Have a great one! Thinking Insomniac

In January (while living in Singapore again) I noticed that every time I had lunch or dinner I would feel bloated, so I had to find out why. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was probably gluten intolerant and described her symptons which sounded exactly like mine! Eureka! I spoke with her and did some research. This new knowledge made me very aware of my diet and I began cooking all of my meals. This meant no more meals at hawker centers  for a while. I am a scientist after all and I had to test my variables to test my hypothesis. In the US this would not be anything special, but in Singapore where food and eating is a tourist attraction, this is quite a decision. I not only decided to cook my own food, but I am a designer at heart and I wanted to design my food. Whatever that meant. I started a blog documenting my culinary journey but never got time to post as often as I would have liked (http://theculinaryarchitect.wordpress.com/). After approximately 2 months I realized that I was sensitive to gluten.

Managing two blogs takes time, so in the future if and when I want to share my culinary delights I will do so here on Thinking Insomniac. Today I will share with you my post from February 19th on homemade protein bars since many of my friends always ask how I made it. Enjoy!

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Today I wanted to make protein bars. I had peanut butter that I did not even open as yet and wanted to make a healthy snack. I found this website (http://neilarey.com/) which had really fantastic workout routines, I loved the drawings, and saw that Neila Ray also had a recipe for a protein bar. I actually did my own take on it and sort of combines her protein bars recipe with her energy ballz recipe.

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My ingredients – Whey protein, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, peanut butter, oats, dried ginger

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Raisins, dried cranberries and dried apricots

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Coconut cream

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Whey protein and peanut butter added to coconut cream

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I then added the oat mixture I had (rolled oats, raisins, pistachio nuts, almonds, and more)… MIX. I didn’t have a mixer, so I used the natural mixer, my hand.

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Looking good…

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I then flattened the mixture out on a plate and cut it up into bars

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I wrapped them in wax paper and placed them all in the refrigerator. I ended up with a lot of them! I think 35 of them.

If I am unable to have breakfast before leaving home on mornings I take one with me and have it to tide me over until lunch. They taste great! And my favorite part is the little surprise of ginger pieces that I get in mine. Mmmmm!!!

From http://theculinaryarchitect.wordpress.com/

Creative Commons License
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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 My friend took me to Veni Mangé in Port of Spain, Trinidad last week for lunch. Here was my experience. Sign paying homage to Allyson Hennessy above.

“Veni Mangé came into existence in December 1980. The name Veni Mangé is French Patois for ‘Come & Eat’ Now located on the popular Ariapita Avenue, the restaurant is housed in old Colonial home, clay colored with demerara windows, local art, tropical plants, colorful décor and overhead ceiling fans. It epitomises Caribbean ambiance. Veni Mangé is run by sisters, Allyson Hennessy (deceased – pictured above), a Cordon Bleu Chef and sister, Roses Hezekiah.” – from Veni Mange website.

We were warmly greeted by Roses (I think it was Roses) who was the epitome of the Caribbean woman, beautiful, warm, felt like family, and a beautiful smile. She escorted us to our seats, asking us where we preferred and opening the windows for us to enjoy the breeze.

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 Coconut Bake

Before placing your order you are greeted by beautiful and delicious coconut bake! This is a Trinbagonian past-time. It was and still is one of the most comforting things for me to eat when I come home to Trinidad. My grandmother’s coconut bake was unforgettable. In addition to the bake looking so inviting, I loved the checkered towel it was placed in. Oh so homey!

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I ordered grilled shrimp in chadon bene sauce (chadon bene is a family to cilantro) and my friend ordered the West Indian stewed beef with dumplings. Our entrees were served with (pictured above) bhagi rice (from top left), potato salad and fried plantains, vegetables (which was really pak choi) and red beans. Oh it was a feast!!!!!!!!!!! It looked and smelled sooooooooooo good! But the pièce de résistance was about to arrive..

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Close up of the bhagi rice

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Potato salad and fried plantains

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Stewed red beans

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Pak choi

Now for the entrees…

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Stewed beef with dumplings. Five-finger a.k.a star fruit a.k.a carambola for decoration.

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Another view with some watercress too.

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This was my baby, my darling, just looking at this and my mouth is watering again…grilled shrimp in chadon bene sauce

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Now, if memory serves me right the menu said “grilled shrimp.” I didn’t taste the grill on the shrimp, BUT the shrimps was one of the most delicious tasting shrimps I have ever had! It tasted like a chadon bene ceviche or a shrimp chow! BEST THING EVER!!

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Another view! I ate my sides and left the majority of my shrimp for last.

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We left room for dessert. I had the rum trifle and my friend had the prune dessert with custard (I can’t remember the name).

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Inside the run trifle

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A closer view of inside the rum trifle.

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The prune dessert

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Inside the prune dessert

 The desserts were great! If I were Veni Mangé however I would place the trifle in a clear glass or bowl. The beauty of a trifle lies not just in its taste, but also in its layers. Glass dish – yes. I would also put a lighter layer of custard atop. The entire thing was a little too sweet and I felt the custard overwhelmed the delicious fruits and cake below a bit. I would do the same for the prune dessert. They were both great however. Now for the decor…

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The brightly colored furniture, windows, ceiling fans, demerara windows, colorful artwork depicting Caribbean life and Caribbean people. The seat covers are reminiscent of  the dresses worn by bélé dancers in the Caribbean.

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Brightly colored furniture and jalousie windows (with louvers).

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The artwork and plants…

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A close up of the painted table top and beautiful tile

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More of the interior

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 White painted ceiling, demerara windows, wooden floor and furniture at the bar

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A wall of famous Trinidadians

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Demerara windows

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View of Veni Mangé from the outside

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Exterior sign

I thank Rose and the young lady who waited on my friend and I. This was fantastic! The food was some of the best I have ever tasted. The service was PERFECT! I felt comfortable, they kept asking us if everything was alright and if we wanted anything else. I am a sucker for fantastic service and they gave it to us, all with that beautiful Caribbean smile and warmth.

  1. Food – GREAT
  2. Service – GREAT
  3. Ambiance – GREAT

Here’s a ink to the restaurant – http://www.venimange.com

Have a great one!

Thinking Insomniac.

Sagicor, POS, Trinidad-sm

6” x 8.5” Pen, ink,  and Sharpie in Ryman sketchbook

I am in Trinidad for a few days and I felt the nostalgia of my time sketching the wonderful buildings in Port of Spain. I passed by the Sagicor Building and wanted to sketch it again. It’s a beauty!

Thinking Insomniac

 

 

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My friends and I made reservations at Taranta Restaurant in Boston, MA. to celebrate. We were not disappointed!

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We sat on the second floor with a lovely view of outside and the golden sunset.

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 Beautiful golden sunset.

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I had the Pisco Sour – delish!!!!

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Another shot…

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 It all looks so lovely.

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I loved this light fixture… Beautiful design!

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The sun departed… as our starters arrived

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An array of antipasto. This was really tasty! Prosciutto – Mmmm

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Caprese Salad – great..

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This was the winner! Chickpeas, clams and more.. IT WAS SOOOO GOOD! I think its name is Coccio di pesce e legumi. It was really, really good. Now it’s time for dinner! I ordered the lamb shank… It was wayyyy bigger than I would have ever imagined!

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This thing was HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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 HUGE!!! Just the sight of it filled me and I could not eat more than a bite. :(

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 The Petto di pollo – chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella cheese and spinach. It was good.

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The salmon and asparagus… also good.

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The dinner winner of the night however was the lobster ravioli. Winner!!

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The dining area on the second floor

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 Dining area on the first floor

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A lovely wine cellar

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Exterior facade.

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 At street level

This restaurant was a memorable experience. The food was great, service was great, I loved the cozy feel, the many things to look at – light fixtures, interior brick walls, trinkets and other artifacts reminding one of Italy and Peru. All in all, great job!

Here’s a link to Taranta’s website – http://www.tarantarist.com/

Thinking Insomniac

Creative Commons License This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Yesterday I went to the 9/11 Memorial and museum in New York. Here are some photos of the memorial and the museum.

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I’ve never seen the undressed skeleton of a Calatrava.. oh this looks fantastic! Like a beast of some sort!

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Across from the memorial

TI_060314-027  A tribute to those who fell on that day

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The memorial

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I really love the form of this building

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This waterfall and pool is REALLY, REALLY fantastic. I was in awe. The sound, it’s vast size, the questions, the scale, it is powerful.

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The names of those who perished

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Entry into the museum was just like that of passing through airport security. On the right are two columns from the original World Trade Center building

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Here they tell in summary the events that happened on that day, i.e. the organized hijacking of planes from different locations and illustrate the flight paths of the planes.

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The Foundation Wall – a slurry wall built to keep water from the river out of the building’s foundation.

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Structural columns from where the first plane hit.

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Projections of the “missing” posters placed by loved ones on the days following 9/11

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Survivor’s stair

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Heading down to the exhibit floor

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Part of the communications antennae that was on top of the North Tower.

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  The North Tower’s communications antennae

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Fire Truck

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Entry into the exhibition. Photography was not allowed so I will try to describe it the best I can.

The sequence of the exhibit matches the time sequence of that day starting at 8:46 am when the first plane hit the first tower. Videos, news footage, etc. capture those minutes. The exhibit has pieces of paper from the Towers (partially burned), identification badges of employees there, metro cards used on that day, and the top news stories of that day. On the walls are also quotes by persons on that day. There are areas where audio recordings of that day are played. Small areas with seats and how nice of them, tissues at the entry. I must point out, not every audio is the same. There are several different ones so don’t leave after viewing just one.

Survivors recounting that moment when the first plane hit, what it felt like, the debris, etc. They speak of their struggle to get out, seeing firemen coming up to help, almost knowing that this was bad and they might not get out. The events at the Pentagon and Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania are exhibited. The audio exhibit of the voice messages left by those on Flight 93 tore my heart. One lady called her husband and said (voice message), “Tell my children I love them [..] I hope I see you again.. I love you baby (crying as she speaks).” That one just killed me and makes me tear up as I write this.

The words of the officers guiding people out of the lobby also stuck with me, “Don’t look up! Don’t look back! Just RUN!!!!”

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    Another shot of the structural columns from the original WTC

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You can see more on the memorial’s official website here – http://www.911memorial.org/

If you can make the trip, I suggest you visit the memorial.

Thinking Insomniac

Creative Commons License This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

on the move bike shop

I arrived in New York a few days ago and am riding in NY for the first time. I borrowed my nephew’s bike and realized it needed some fixing (brakes, tires and a bell). Today I went in search of a bike shop to have these issues fixed. I went to two bikes shops who gave me a lead time of 7-14 days to get my bike fixed. WTH???!!!! Just to fix (or replace) some brakes?!!!! At this point I missed Cambridge, MA where these things would be fixed in minutes! I wondered, “Is it this difficult in NY?” While I was investigating other possibilities on my map, a guy with a beautiful rottweiler stopped and asked if I was looking for a bike shop. We both commented on the insane thought of 2 weeks to fix some brakes. He told me of another shop on Park Slope. We looked at the map and found the store. I called them and they told me to come by. No need to wait 2 weeks!

On the Move Bike Shop!

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Inside On The Move

I entered the shop, told them I just called and wanted to get my brakes fixed, a bell and my chains greased/ oiled. They (Tony) took my bike and rolled it to the back. I was interested in other bikes too, so he brought me a catalog of bikes and showed me the ones they had in the store. There were some great bikes! Wayyyy lighter than the one I had! While checking out the bikes, from what seems like nowhere came this jet black kitty. He came towards me and of course I had to play with him. Spooky is his name! Spooky has size! and is wonderful to pet.

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Spooky!

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Great with customers… because all he wants is to be wubbed.. :-)

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“Why did you stop?!!”

So while playing with Spooky I saw a GIANT bike, the same type of bike I had in Cambridge.

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Tony was so awesome he told me, “Take the bike, go for a spin with it. Let me know what you think.” What the what?!! How cool!! I went for a spin with the bicycle, and oh boy.. It was sooooo good! I came back all smiles and he said, “Feels different huh?!” I agreed. It rode so smoothly. When I came back my bike was finished. I paid for my stuff and then remembered I needed a helmet too so I bought one.

I thanked Tony and Camasero (I am probably wrong, will find out his name and fix) and left.

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Tony (left) and C (right)!

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Their business card

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Tony, after telling me, “I look a mess!”

LOL. No you don’t Tony, you look awesome!

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C was modeling for me. He is the bicycle superhero if you ask me.

I loved this shop because the service was great! They were so friendly… I felt like we knew each other for years. They also fix your stuff quickly. The shop had a constant rotation of people coming in and going out.

  • Service – Extremely good
  • Quality of work done – Very good
  • Cost – Reasonable

Keep up the great work guys and I look forward to seeing you and Spooky again!

Here’s a link to their site – http://onthemovenyc.com/

TI

Creative Commons License

This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

I’ve been searching for something new to blog about, something that excites me! On a recent trip to Malaysia, my friend and I were chatting and I am excited about something new for my blog. Let’s see how it goes. My plan to share with you all things that I enjoy or experiences I had that were great. It might be a restaurant, food, a shop, travel, people, music, architecture… Whatever was awesome, I plan to share. Similar to my previous “Document my Day” posts, but this time with a discerning eye on the experience, design and more.

I will always  be sketching, don’t worry.

Hope you enjoy and stay tuned!

Thinking Insomniac

Creative Commons License

This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.