Merry Christmas! (Photos from Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden)

As a part of our Christmas celebration this week, we spent an evening trekking through the Desert Botanical Garden to take in the thousands of luminarias hand-lit along trails, walkways, and ledges.

A luminaria is a paper lantern made by filling the bottom of a small paper bag with sand and setting a candle in it. Like eating tamales on Christmas Eve, decorating your yard with luminarias (often around the perimeter) is a southwestern Christmas tradition, and Las Noches de las Luminarias is a tradition at the Garden. At this year’s display, we enjoyed the music of mariachis, and members of Yellow Bird telling Apache winter stories and playing native flute. We also admired artist Bruce Munro’s breath-taking art installations in the Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at the Desert Botanical Garden exhibit.

We visited the Garden after nightfall. Of course, I took about 500 pics, which I whittled down to 32 after sifting through them.

At times like these, I wish I had a better camera. The one in my cell phone couldn’t adequately capture the beauty beheld in the Garden that night!

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gleefully surprised when my photo album came out vaguely spooky and Halloweenish; the grainy photo quality probably has something to do with this. My first idea was to take you on a festive holiday stroll through the desert, but instead, you’re getting an experience that might resonate more with The Nightmare before Christmas. The desert at night can be haunting with botanical silhouettes, red skies, and ghostly trees. In many places, the luminarias and Bruce Munro’s artistic light installations added to the eerie effect.

Come along…

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_1

Bienvenidos! [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_2

Christmas tree in the desert. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_3

Over 8000 luminarias were hand-lit at the Garden. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_4

Saguaro cactus. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_5

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_6

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_7

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_8

Luminarias spied behind an organ pipe cactus. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_9

For obvious reasons, these luminarias are made with plastic sleeves rather than with real paper bags. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_10

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_11

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_12

Christmas lights wrapped around a palo verde tree. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_13

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_14

The desert at night. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_15

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_16

Shadow of a dwelling behind the luminarias. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_17

Members of Yellow Bird told Apache winter stories and played native flute on the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_18

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_19

Christmas light-studded hill in the desert. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_20

Red sky, web on the ground made of strings and beads of lights. (Light art of Bruce Munro.) [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_21

Arteries glowing in the desert darkness – light art of Bruce Munro. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_22

Eerily glowing luminous art by Bruce Munro. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_23

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_24

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_25

Luminarias leading the way on the Garden trails. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_26

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_27

[TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_28

Luminaria with more of Bruce Munro’s light art. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_29

“Fireflies” by Bruce Munro. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_30

“Fireflies” by Bruce Munro. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_31

Light art by Bruce Munro. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

thatasianlookingchick.com-DBGLuminarias_32

Statue in the Garden. [TALC at Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, 2015]

…and a great BIG “thank you” to Callaghan for patiently waiting as I took hundreds of pics!

Merry Christmas, All. =)

How to cover a door window.

Plans for the ongoing renovation project at my workplace include new doors for the offices. The construction crew finished installing the doors last week. Now my heavy, dark, 70’s-ass door is history, and in its place hangs a sleek, pale, Scandinavianesque door, outfitted with… a huge, clear window.

Plus: The new door looks great!

Plus-Minus: The new door looks great, but it doesn’t block out sound when it’s closed. (In fact, it seems to amplify sound.)

Minus: Because of the big window, there’s no privacy when the door is closed.

Like when I close the door because I’m trying to concentrate on a project.

Or when I close the door because I’m taking a lunch break and wish to hide.

Or when I close the door because I’m changing my clothes after working out.

The window is so large, it’s almost like having a dutch door with the top half open all the time.

Understand, this really isn’t an issue. I love the new door in all of its contemporary splendor, and its downsides mostly don’t matter because I keep the door wide open at least 95% of the time.

 

Gorgeous new door all the way open in my office.

Gorgeous new door all the way open in my office.

 

When I do close it, though, it’s for a reason, right?

What the window does is it invites people to look in as they’re walking past. It actually draws the person’s attention toward the office interior, meaning at me because I’m right there in front of it. Invariably (human nature), I look up and make eye contact with the person. This sometimes leads to interaction, which defeats the purpose of closing the door.

It’s obvious that other people in my department share my concern, as some of them have already reclaimed their privacy by covering their door windows. One person covered his with blank white paper. Another covered hers with some kind of reflective material, like aluminum foil. This inspired me to create my own privacy, as well.

But what to use to cover my window?

In case you, too, find yourself in this predicament and ask yourself this very question, here are some privacy window-covering décor ideas from me, That Asian-Looking Martha Stewart:

 

Office as Velociraptor-occupied room outside of the kitchen in Jurassic Park.

Office as Velociraptor-occupied room outside of the kitchen in Jurassic Park.

 

Office as horse stable.

Office as horse stable.

 

Office as Nicolas Cage magnifier.

Office as Nicolas Cage magnifier.

 

 

Office as friendly aquarium.

Office as friendly aquarium.

 

Office as spooky haunted room.

Office as spooky haunted room.

 

Office as Oogie Boogie's lair in Nightmare Before Christmas.

Office as Oogie Boogie’s lair in Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

Office with Grumpy Cat "Do Not Disturb" sign.

Office with Grumpy Cat “Do Not Disturb” sign.

 

So many options for this huge window!

This being a tough decision, my door window will probably end up looking something like this:

 

Because you can't go wrong with black.

Because you can’t go wrong with black.

 

Onward!