Sunday, November 30, 2008

fully alive...

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

- dawna markova

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." Henry Miller

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Taffeta...


The rustle of a knee length taffeta skirt is the perfect festive touch for our holiday wardrobe. We can style it any way we want, wear it to a party, out to dinner, or for a walk to see the holiday windows. On sale now, J. Crew offers a silk taffeta a-line in bright aquamarine, light flamingo, burnished olive, and neutral champagne or taupe. Crew's Collection floor length silk taffeta bow skirt is the ultimate dress up piece. Banana Republic’s full taffeta skirt is available in black and taupe, while their tulip skirt comes in purple or black taffeta. Best buy is the Gap’s silk and cotton taffeta. At $58.00 it has mini-pleats with a slimming dropped waist and is available in purple petal, pale smoke and black. Pair any of these styles with a tailored white shirt, pile on pearls or a chunky necklace, add black opaque tights, pumps or boots and you are good to go. A cashmere cardigan will keep you warmer. A favorite of ours, an iridescent dark purple belle skirt from J.Crew.com sold out early last month, a lesson in buying when you see it!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008...

Meister Eckhart:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In the Service of Others...

Vintage Salvation Army poster available on
ebay




Volunteering is the perfect way to give of yourself. In these difficult economic times the need becomes even greater. You focus away from your own troubles and concentrate on others. Somehow your worries melt away in the simple act of service. You can give whatever you can, an hour here or there, in a nursing home or perhaps an animal shelter; or collect warm clothes for donation. Do you know a neighbor going through a rough patch? Does the elderly woman on your street need her sidewalks shoveled when it snows? There are myriad ways to help. Of course the truth is that no one benefits more than you for in the giving is the gift.

To donate to a foodbank, find one near you at: Feeding America

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tried and Oh So True...


You think there is something better out there and have tried everything. But guess what? There just isn't. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream is the perfect anecdote for dry hands and cracked cuticles. We are constantly washing our hands to ward away germs this time of year and nothing and we repeat nothing works as well. Inexpensive and available everywhere, pick up a tube to keep at your desk, in your car and by your bedside. You will be glad you did!

Monday, November 24, 2008

"In the Mood for Love"...


"There is nothing but emptiness, the empty existence I exchanged for the truth."
— Lu Xun, 1926

Kar Wai -Wong’s In the Mood for Love, a Cannes Film Festival winner, (best actor: Tony Leung), is one of the most beautiful films we have ever seen. A love story set in 1962 Hong Kong, it follows the intersection of two lives, neighbors in an apartment house who realize their spouses are having an affair with each other. Each gorgeous frame is infused with longing and restraint. The mood is heightened by the original violin score and dream-like repetition and progression of the scenes. Regrets and secrets are at the heart of this film, the sense of time irretrievably lost. Nat King Cole’s Spanish vocals add to the melancholy and Maggie Cheung’s exquisite wardrobe, elegant and perfect, seems to emphasize the physical distance that will remain between the two lovers. The cello music at the end will break your heart, (reminded us of Yo Yo Ma's cello as the camera follows the empty streets of Vienna at the end of Before Sunrise.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Late Fragment...


And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


Raymond Carver

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday to me...



e-mail to my sons:

Friday, today, right now, is my birthday (not again!!) and the only reason I am doing this is so that you don't feel guilty because you forgot...as in "Geez, What a jerk! I forgot my Mother's birthday!"
I do not want anything , not even a card. I am sooo lucky to be here this year that I am perfectly happy. You all came through for me in so many ways when I was in the hospital, both times! This is what I want from you:
Have as much fun as you can, believe that you can do whatever you want to do and do it now. Don't put it off. If I knew then what I know now, I would've had a lot more fun, been very bad, done so much more. So your birthday gift to me is to start right now to live without regrets. And I'm not kidding!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Best Eyeliner in the World...


When a product actually lives up to your expectations and more, we feel it definitely deserves "a shout out". Styli-Style 24 Hour Power absolutely delivers. There is a Line & Seal 24, a Liquid Liner 24 and a Flat Liner 24, all terrific. These liners stay put and don't smudge and you just can't beat the price. Available at CVS, Rite Aid, and other beauty supply stores. For self confessed eyeliner junkies, it doesn't get any better than this!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Destiny...


Life is great bundle of little things.” O.W. Holmes

Over the many decades that has been our friendship, we have spent countless hours over cups of coffee and glasses of wine or late night phone calls pondering the question “what twist of fate brought us to this moment?” We have our ideas but still cannot unravel the mystery. In his very long short story, The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain wonders if even the slightest act can change the course of our lives. In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest speaks to Jenny at her grave and gives one of the most thought-provoking of explanations, "Jenny, I don't know if mama was right, or if it's Lieutenant Dan, I don't know if we each have a destiny or if we're all just floatin' around accidental like on a breeze... but i think, maybe it's both. Maybe both are happening at the same time..." This is what we have come to believe ourselves. What is destiny? The grand idea we had for our lives or all the little things that led to this moment? Of course only your own question will reveal the answer.
For fun, go to the Eight Ball and ask!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The X Factor...


It is called the X factor or je ne sais quoi, a quality that no one can explain. You can’t buy it or imitate it. Many movie stars have it, something that just lights them up on the screen. Audrey Hepburn personified the X factor. She was beautiful, ethereal, an icon. She just wasn't like anyone else. Remember Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago? The X factor does not fit any mold nor can it be defined. We are all unique with our own special qualities but the X factor goes a step beyond.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ageless beauty...




RoC, the skin care line from Paris, offers an affordable alternative to aging. The Multi-Correction Night Treatment contains Advanced RoC Retinol which enhances your skin's ability to renew itself, and anti-oxident vitamins to help neutralize free radicals. Available in drugstores, it is another way to arm yourself in the ongoing battle against time. Visit RoC.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

“Come live with me and be my love…” Christopher Marlowe

photo: Gidget

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Christopher Marlowe

Today is a special post in honor of Gidget, the shelter, calico kitten who has joined our family. While dropping off a bag of kibble at St Hubert’s Animal Shelter, a four month old stray kitten whose brother had been adopted the day before, touched my heart. She is beautiful, gentle and kind and has already reminded me of the practice of patience. It takes time for these creatures who have been abandoned to trust but their love is immediate and true. So on Saturday, November 15th we welcomed Gidget into our home and our hearts. Don't think we won't be posting pictures!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up neither the destroyer or the destroyed.” Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, November 14, 2008

Imagine That...

" I believe that for his escape he took advantage of the migration of a flock of wild birds." from The Little Prince, written and drawn by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Much has been written lately about the need for a shift in our collective consciousness towards the right side, the creative side, of our brain. An interview with Daniel Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind, in the December issue of Oprah suggests that an MFA is the new MBA because innovative thinking is harder to outsource and more important in the new conceptual age we are entering. It is time to rethink the Liberal Arts, “ liberal” meaning “open-minded”, relating to “developing intellectual capacities as opposed to professional skills.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. The twenty first century requires inventive solutions to the problems we face here and globally; in economics, the environment, and in our relationships with other countries. If we are to save our environment, the infrastructure of our cities will need to change to accommodate new transportation concepts. How and where we live will be constantly transformed. We all can have something to contribute.
If you are unemployed, now may be the time between job searches to daydream. The idea of flight, traveling to the moon, the genius of the internet began in the imagination. During stressful times, it is difficult to be positive, but that is when it is most important. This could be the moment you decide to take your life in a new direction. Corporate work no longer offers the security of a big pay check. Every day there are more layoffs. What to do? Change just one thing in your daily routine; take a different road when you are driving or walking, listen to Vivaldi, pick up a paint brush. Do something that you never do that requires the use of the inventive side of your brain. Do you design jewelry, take photographs, work with clay, or reconfigure vintage clothing to make it your own? That could be just the beginning of a different way of thinking, especially if your job in the corporate or financial world has been depending on the left, pragmatic side of your brain. This century will see a transformation of the economic landscape. You can be part of it.

The inventor P.B. MacCready in a 1990 interview with the New York Times explained, “There is a value to some way-out impractical projects that are done for prizes, symbolism or the fun of it, where you don’t have to worry about production. You can focus on extremes; when you do that you’re able to go way beyond prescribed limits to new frontiers.”

Etsy is a wonderful site featuring handmade designs. It is a global market place offering a wealth of information where you might sell your wares or be inspired, as well as buy unusual presents. Many of us share distinctive creative gifts. Many more of us have never investigated that side of ourselves. It is time to explore the possibilities. Maybe you can be the creator of your new day job!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rescue Me...

Leif Ericson, adopted from St. Hubert's Shelter

"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet."
- Colette

With the rising rate of home foreclosures and job losses, there is a corresponding increase in homeless pets. Shelters are overflowing. If you have been considering the adoption of a pet, now is the time. Visit Petfinder. What better holiday gift to yourself or your family? "Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies." Gene Hill.
Owning a pet encourages you to become the kind of person he believes you to be. "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive." Gilda Radner. Every one benefits by your act of kindness. You will have a constant companion, a personal trainer who will get you out of the house, walking, even on the coldest mornings. If you have been at work all day or gone for a few minutes, no one will be more eager to see you. In return for all his adoration, you will be giving your pet a second chance, the love and home he deserves. "My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet." Edith Wharton
Cats are easier to care for especially if you live in a city. Rescue two cats and you will never need to worry about a lonely pet. They are more independent than dogs, but find their own way of attaching themselves to your heart.
If this is not the year you are able to rescue a pet, it is still possible to help. Drop off a bag of food at your nearest shelter!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tried and True...

We love Clinique’s 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula. It has been around forever and is gentle enough to be used everyday. It clarifies your skin tone and is perfect for all skin types. Just the thing you need to brighten up your skin and give a youthful glow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Writing a Life...


“If you keep a diary, you live a narrated life, and a narrated life is intrinsically different; it has an extra layer.” Perri Klass

We all have the need to note the significant events of our lives, births, graduations, marriages…but what about the essence of our lives, those personal bits and pieces we need to remember? Journaling enables us to “… realize how consistently we spin out the same webs only to be caught in them again.” Phyllis Theroux
If you keep a journal to record your life or write “'morning pages', three pages of longhand writing, stream-of-consciousness brain drain," The Artist's Way , to help reveal it, we applaud you. Somehow for us even the best of these intentions falls short when the day gets the most of us. We keep a journal of sorts in our Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Over the years we have highlighted what resonated with us, marking the date so when we return to the same page year after year we can stop and reflect on lives at that point in time and ask ourselves why that quote or passage spoke to us. Tucked in the pages are photos, an important news article, a card from a friend, our way to remember. We love this book. It is a perpetual calendar of our lives and a wonderful gift to yourself or a friend.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mood Matters...


According to the New York Times SundayStyles, "the Lipstick Index-that frivolous financial barometer that says cosmetics sales rise in direct relation to free-falling finances-has jumped." With 41 of fall's most popular lip colors listed in this link, lipstick once again proves its transformative power. "Even on the worst days there is always lipstick." ABA 8/28/08 Remember, perception is everything. Put on some rosy lipstick and smile...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Share and Share Alike...

"I always think women should be totally open with other women about what they do to make themselves look better." Courteney Cox

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Making a Difference...


But for Dr. Whybrow, with globalization here to stay, the solution lies with the individual: It’s up to each of us to ruminate on our lives and slow down enough so that we can limit our appetites and find a better balance between work and family.
He suggested following the example of a man his friend saw running along the beach: “A high tide washed all the little fish onto the beach where they were all gasping for breath. So here’s this fellow scooping up each fish and throwing them back into the sea, and my friend goes up to the fellow and says: ‘this is a fruitless task. It’s not going to make any difference.’ And the fellow picks up a fish, throws it into the sea and says, ‘To this one it does.’”

New York Times, March 12, 2005

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Suit Yourself, Mix It Up...



We all know that a great suit is one of the best wardrobe investments we can make. Facing an economic crunch with the holidays ahead, a new suit could be all you need to get you through the season. Styling options are wide open. One of us is loyal to a classically cut, longer jacket and straight leg pants, personalizing it by adding a shot of color with a simple top, signature jewelry and pointy pumps, perfect for work. The other is more likely to choose a short, fitted jacket, slouchy trousers and boots. A timeless style and a year round fabric, like light weight wool crepe or gabradine can become your holiday staple. Throw the jacket over a floaty silk camisole and cigarette jeans for a house party. For a more formal event, pair the pants with velvet, metallic silk, or cashmere. Take it up a notch and splurge on a tux. An elegant look for any woman, it takes on even more mystery when a worn by a woman of a certain age. J. Crew and Banana Republic offer affordable options, and they have already reduced prices.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tried and True...


We have rediscovered Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castile Classic Soaps. These soaps are completely biodegradable and vegetable-based have no synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives and can be used for just about anything. We love the liquid soap for the shower. It is incredibly mild and kind to your skin. It is now available in Peppermint, Lavender, Almond, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Unscented Baby-Mild, Rose and Citrus Orange.
Unlike any you’ve ever used. A combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, creates a unique soap that cleans effectively without being aggressive and produces a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed.
Now available in two new Magic liquid fragrances: Rose and Citrus Orange

Dancing in the Streets...

"...I think about America and those who built it. This nation's founders, who somehow rose above petty ambitions and narrow calculations to imagine a nation unfurling across a continent. And those like Lincoln and King, who ultimately laid down their lives in the service of perfecting an imperfect union. And the faceless, nameless men and women, slaves and soldiers and tailors and butchers, constructing their lives for themselves and their children and grandchildren, brick by brick, rail by rail, calloused hand by calloused hand, to fill in the landscape of our collective dreams.
It is that process I wish to be part of.
My heart is filled with love for this country."


The Audacity of Hope, (President-Elect!) Barack Obama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out The Vote!!!!


Get out and vote! Never assume that your candidate is winning. Every vote is needed! Call your local party headquarters and volunteer. Help with a a phone bank to get all the voters out, be a poll watcher, or drive those who need a ride to the polls. This election is historic! Be part of it!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"bird by bird..."


After sending the last of my four sons off to college, I had decided to return to complete my BA/MA at a university in New York. It had been a lifelong dream deferred. Scholarships, loans, and schedules were set in place. Three days before classes commenced, I had a brain hemorrhage requiring hospitalization. All plans were on hold. Two months after the first episode, I was rushed back to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Confined to the critical care unit for brain trauma, I had lots of time to think. Do we need a near death experience to remind us to affirm our reverence for each day of our lives? Anne Lamott’s book came to mind. The title, "bird by bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life", resulted from a discussion between the author’s father and her ten year old brother. Her brother was struggling with a school report on birds that he had been given three months to write. As he sat at the table surrounded by books and papers, overwhelmed by the project that he hadn’t even begun, he asked his father’s advice. Putting his arm around his son, Anne’s father said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”Although her book is a manual for writers, at once hilarious and heartbreaking, it offers simple advice on how to live, how to pay attention. I thought about how everything we do matters. We need to be present, mindful, and, most of all, grateful. I refuse to be defined by this experience, I will learn from it, get well again and realize my dreams, “bird by bird”.