The inspirational journal of rising NYC jewelry designer, entrepreneur, violinist, and pastry chef, Yumi Chen.

NYC Jewelry Designer, Violinist, Pastry Chef, Small Business Owner, Free-Spirit, Positive Thinker!

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Archive for October, 2008

Need a Ride?

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Do you know about the navigation system in an Acura SUV? I do. What about the horsepower in the engine? ‘Cause I know about that, too. No, I’m not a car fanatic or even a particular fan of Acura (though the more familiar I get with the cars, the more I like them!).

See, the W Hotel, as yet another feature of their “Whatever, Whenever” mission, offers a service called The Acura Experience. Living in New York, we really are spoiled by our transportation options. You can pretty much always step outside the door and throw your arm in the air and a car will pull over and take you (almost) anywhere you want to go. But in cities like Atlanta, hailing a taxi is close to impossible (and even more costly than in New York if you can believe it) which makes getting around when you’re just visiting on business quite difficult.

Leave it to the folks at the W, then, to come up with a sales-pitch/taxi service in which guests can be chauffered to any local destination in a new model Acura, in the hopes of selling them on buying a new car rather than on paying a fare. It’s a pretty perfect arrangement, until you have to listen to your third or fourth sales pitch and feign interest to yet another driver/salesman. Needless to say, I got pretty good about inquiring about the navigation system and the horsepower. And I got to know quite a few of the drivers on the staff.

I was lucky enough to land a man named Milton Horton on two of my “cab” trips. When it became clear that I was no novice to the “Experience”, we started to play a game pretending that it was all new to both of us. Milton turned out to be more than a driver or a salesman, he was an excellent tour guide and a fun friend; we shared some good belly laughs in that 300-horsepower Acura MDX.

What Is Your Wish?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Luxury business hotels are quite an ironic affair. A large percentage of their clientele are business people, staying for short durations and only occupying the room for a few brief hours to sleep (if they’re lucky). And yet, the standout hotels have put such effort into making the rooms and the services surpass all expectations, when in reality, all you’re looking for at the end of a long day away from home is a clean and safe place to pass out. Nonetheless, my place of choice is the W Hotel chain. I stay at a W Hotel in practically every city I’m in for the Shecky’s tour because their rooms have colorful, contemporary designs and their service is impeccable. Too bad I’m not around the room more to enjoy it…

The motto of the W Hotel brand is “Whatever, Whenever”. When you call the front desk, the voice on the other end answers sweetly, “Whatever, Whenever, What is Your Wish?” (Maybe a little over-the-top fantastical, but nonetheless puts a smile on my face every time!). My current room, here in Atlanta, is all decked out Yumi-style: purple and pink color themes with swirly flowers and fun, modern, silver designs on the walls. It feels like a dream (which I suspect is the intention)! The hospitality staff has thought of everything: the room is outfitted with not only a gift bag filled with fun snacks and “essentials” (an “Intimacy Kit” and a “First Aid Kit” which both contain exactly what you would expect them to!), but also several bottles of alcohol on the desk with a coaster that reads “Why not? (that’s what we say, too)”. Sounds like trouble, if you ask me! But, as they would say here, “whatever”…

Pie in the Sky!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

I love Boston. After being away for a while, I forgot how happy Boston makes me feel. I especially love hangin’ out in Harvard Square! Sandwiches from Cardullo’s, Chocolates from Burdick Chocolates, clothing shopping at Mint Julep top my list of must do!

I was wandering through the Harvard Square Farmers’ Market, picking up apples and strawberry muffins (yum!). I happened upon a table with a sign that read “Pie in the Sky“. Intrigued, I talked to them for a while and learned that they are part of a larger organization called Community Servings. This company is devoted to making and delivering meals to people in the Boston area with terminal illnesses who cannot provide for themselves. They cater to 675 clients living with 20 different types of illnesses in 16 towns.

Every Thanksgiving, local restaurants and bakeries donate pies (apple, pumpkin, and pecan) to Pie in the Sky. Each pie costs $25, which is in turn enough funding to supply a week’s worth of meals to a single client. (You can also order pies on their website!) The only catch, seemingly, is that you have to pick up your pie from one of several Greater Boston locations (I’m sure it’s a great pie, but I can’t really drive back to Boston in three weeks to get it…) The solution? Donate the pie, too! So I did. I paid $25, which will not only effectively sponsor one client’s meals for a week, but will also send a home-baked pie to someone who would otherwise be without one this holiday.

That is something that they, as well as I, can be thankful for. Yeah pie!