Weekly Photo: Containers

By Nora Vasconcelos

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A literary portrait of Hong Kong city life

By Nora Vasconcelos

HarbourViews (1)

There’s something magical when an author manages to transport our minds to another place in the world, transforming the readers into active spectators. This is the case of Philip Chatting, a well-travelled British author, who in his first novel Harbour Views presents with great detail what it is like to live in Hong Kong when a powerful businessman impacts the behavior of every person around him.

Recently released by Book Guild Publishing, this novel, sprinkled with some touches of dark comedy, presents in all their humane aspects the moods, thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions of the main characters, whose lives spin around Jakob Odergaard, a Norwegian expatriate who built thorughout the years a business empire in Hong Kong.

As powerful as he is, he cares little for anybody else but himself, and this might have turned him into a despicable character, but the precise knowledge with which the author developed his main character, made of Odergaard a unique persona whom people get inevitably drawn to, wandering, from the first to the last page, what is going to happen next?, and in how many ways his volatile reactions will impact, one more time, those living under his shadow.

At the same time, it’s hard not to feel some sort of compassion towards the magnate whose existence, full of money and power, somehow never seems to be a happy one.

On the other hand, most people under his tough hand, have lived painful lives, full of disappointment and dreams of a better life, but in the end, they manage to get some sort of comfort within their own ordinary realities.

And while all this drama untangles, the magnificent essence of the city with its sounds and smells, as well as its always changing harbour views, testifies the ups and downs that constantly accompany all the characters created for this book.

* Photo courtesy of Book Guild Publishing

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Weekly Photo: Relic

By Nora Vasconcelos

I always find something magical and nostalgic in all kind of streetcars, either if they’re still traveling around the city or if they’re part of a historical collection. They’re like a little piece of the past that hasve made it up to these days, giving people the chance to travel back in time, even if only for a few minutes.

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Weekly Photo: Contrasts

By Nora Vasconcelos

Shades of light and color

Shades of light and color

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Big joy in the form of colorful little desserts

By Nora Vasconcelos

Petit_Four-gift_box

Often when I’d had the chance to enjoy some delicious petit fours, I wondered how much time it would take to prepare them, and how complicated it’d be, but now, thanks to Brooks Coulson Nguyen, I’ve seen that it’s actually possible to prepare them at home!

author_portrait petit four

In 2004, Coulson opened Dragonfly Cakes, a bakery in California, USA, and ever since she’s been creating new designs and flavor combinations. At the end of 2013, she published with Ulysses Press The Petit Four Cookbook

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“I have always loved baking and decided to make the jump in lifestyle so that I could incorporate my family into each piece of my life. Not all corporate jobs allow for the work-life balance I was looking for. I was on a business trip in New Orleans when I decided that I would send myself to pastry school,” tells me Brooks while talking about opening her own busines. “It is extremely challenging at times but it is very rewarding. It is fun to be able to use my creative side every day! I love owning my own business.”

In her book, Coulson explains in a very simple way, the steps that are needed to prepare these adorable bite-size delicacies, from the equipment (mixer, bowls, cookie sheets, cookie cutters, etc.) to the preparation, the assembly and the decoration of the little desserts.

“Petit fours take more time because each piece of cake needs to be cut into a precise shape before they are dipped into the coating,” explains Brooks, however, this task can be done over two days. And once the petit fours are complete, the satisfaction of seen them is well worth it.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Either if they’re prepared to surprise a family member, give them as presents for birthdays or special holidays or as a part of a celebration like a wedding or a baby shower, the petit fours turn the dessert time into a memorable experience.

* All photos courtesy of Ulysses Press

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Weekly Photo: Between

By Nora Vasconcelos

Between by NVS

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Weekly Photo: Extra

By Nora Vasconcelos

Good Morning Beautiful!

Good Morning Beautiful!

Nothing like an amazing sunrise to bring something extra to a brand new day.

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