Thursday, November 28, 2013

What are you thankful for?

One afternoon last weekend I came home to find John reading a book called "This is the Turkey" with the girls. They had gone to the library to check out holiday books - jonesing for the season to begin. This particular story is centered around a family that comes together for a thanksgiving feast. Food is bought, tables are set, and the turkey is prepared. As guests arrive things take a turn for the worse when dear old mom trips while carrying the turkey into the dining room. When the turkey lands in the fish tank with a "SPLASH!" it seems that all hope is lost... And then Grandpa declares, "No turkey? No problem!" The crew of family and friends, now turkey-less, sit down to feast. And feast they do. They realized there was plenty else to eat and that the actual bird had nothing to do with the overall joy and love they felt that day. The turkey was lost but hope was not.           
And then that book got me to thinking - where else in my life am I missing the real message? Where else am I so focused on the 23 pound bird that I miss the simple and sweet joy of what else is being offered? I always say - don't go seeking answers unless you really are prepared to find them. My quest for truth made it all too clear to me that throughout the week there are many moments when I miss the forest for the trees... I get so fixated on perfection that I miss the sweet pleasure of the messier moments in life.
So today I remind myself to think long and hard about what really matters on Thanksgiving. Not the turkey, not the stemware, not the seat assignments, or the vintage of wine. It matters that we come together. It matters that we give thanks. It matters that we look around the room and feel grateful for the love and camaraderie. It matters that we give and receive love. And that we pray for those suffering and those without warm homes, feasts, tables, and friends. That should be the focus.

*And to honor those less fortunate I pass along this article from the NY Times. It's an interesting look at how and why it is imperative that we think of others on this day. And that we work to change how we think of them. Nicholas Kristof always forces me to see things from a different angle. He is a profound teacher. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Merry Merry Madewell

It's that most wonderful time of year! The time to give and the time to receive. And to give. And to receive. And to give.... To kick off the holiday season I am hosting a holiday shopping event at the Madewell store on Greenwich Avenue on December 11th. Yup, you heard me right. We're drinking, shopping, styling, and gift wrapping! 

For those who attend - You'll get free monogramming on any Madewell bag purchased that night! And to sweeten the deal? Madewell is offering free gift wrap from Papyrus. Stock up on gifts and you won't have to worry about wrapping until midnight Christmas Eve. And then there is this - If you spend more than $125 you'll get 20% off your entire purchase. It wouldn't be a holiday event if we weren't giving back so Madewell has graciously agreed to give a portion of all sales made that night to Little Wings Foundation. Yippee! Come one, come all, come shop! It's a great way to kick off the holiday season! 

My Madewell Looks: 

*images by the fabulously talented Jessica Murphy of Periwinkle Photography

The Best of What's In-Store:

The Billie Boot and Denim - A Perfect Match

Great Everyday Items - Perfect For Layering

A Fun Dress for Any Occasion

Baby it's cold outside! Bundle up.

So Clutch

Ideal Arm Swag

The denim options are limitless...

Everyday Style

I adore you all.

The perfect PJ for someone you love. 

How very Isabel Marant...

The Catch All

Two of my Favorites

Suck it in - in style!

Let's not forget the stocking stuffers...

So Very Winter

Perfect for holiday cocktails!

Get them while they last  - this jacket is selling out fast!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Found on the Web

Click It!

1) I like this POV about giving generously without expectation.

2) Some darn good apps for taking photos on your phone...

3) I love to ponder who has time to create things like this. Keep up the good work. Very funny.

4) I'm not a cat person but this blog literally had me howling with laughter. Meow!

5) My family may balk - but I am doing it. Vegan pumpkin pie here I come!

6) Are you ethnic? 

7) Love these clever little works by Javier Perez.

8) How distracted are you? This mother's story about how being distracted almost killed her daughter is eye-opening. 

9) Admit it. You've done the Irish Goodbye...

10) Interesting theory on why it is to your advantage to pitch bad ideas first. Not so sure McDonald's would appreciate this one.

* Click on the bold words to read the links.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boy's Best Friend

By now you may or may not have heard about the very special relationship between Theo and Beau which is documented on the blog Momma's Gone City. A babe and his pup - it's a lesson in very simple love. Theo was adopted from a shelter at just 7 weeks old and his new family had a tough time with the crate training. Theo was just too cute to keep locked up as he whimpered from behind the bars of his cage. Instead Theo took to sleeping with his new parents - and on his third day at home he fell asleep snuggled up to their young son Beau as he lay down for his afternoon nap. The next day Theo appeared at the bedroom door right at nap time. And each day since Theo has patiently waited for Beau to fall asleep and then joined him for a 2 hour nap. There is something so simple about these images - and yet they make your heart feel such great emotion. I now want a dog more than ever...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mind the Gap!

Get Going with GapFit

In a world where Lululemon has ruled supreme for far too long it feels very refreshing to find a new line of workout clothes that are cute, well-made, and budget friendly to boot. Enter in GapFit. I am loving Gap's sleek lines and thick supportive materials. The gFast Capris are my favorite - they come in a ton of great colors. Make sure Santa knows they are on your list! Perfect timing as we all head to the gym to burn some calories before we gorge ourselves on turkey, stuffing, and pie.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beauty in Motion

 Virginie Mecene in Martha Graham's "Appalachian Spring"
Photo by John Deane

To dance is to live! The music, the bodies, the movement - they all inspire. There is so much chatter in the news about the arts and the lack of funding for them both within schools and on the professional level. One can't help but wonder what that will mean for the generations to come. I can remember the very first time I walked up to Lincoln Center, in awe of the majestic fountain and the towering buildings that surrounded me. And then I entered the theater. I was completely smitten and decided then and there that I wanted to be a ballerina. That dream faded but my love of dance never did.  

Katherine Crockett and Martin Lofsnes in Martha Graham's "Diversion of Angels"
Photo by John Deane

My dear friend Meghan Hewit McCormick is also passionate about dance. She is a beautiful dancer herself and each time she speaks of the dancers she works with I can hear the joy in her voice and see the inspiration on her face. Meghan has worked with a range of arts organizations over the years. Dance was her first love but she is equally passionate about all the arts in general. She whole-heartedly believes that the arts are an imperative part of our culture. Her most recent project is one I am honored to promote. Currently the Martha Graham Dance Company is fundraising through a Kickstarter campaign to create a new work with famed choreographer Nacho Duato. The amount you give is of little importance. Getting involved is imperative. They are trying to raise $25,000 by November 27th. Read on to find out why you should consider donating today!

Alessandra Prosperi in Martha Graham's "Deep Song"
Photo by John Deane

Q&A with Meghan Hewit McCormick, Director of Development, Martha Graham Dance Company

What does dance mean to you personally? 
For me, dance is love. I discovered it on my own and threw myself into it when I was about 10 years old, and it became my passion project and very much a part of my identity through high school and college. Discipline, challenge, expression (so essential during those teen years!), power, beauty, and fun - that's what held my interest. It calls upon both the artist and athlete within.

It has been a while since I danced. When I go to see a performance today, there are the times when it just moves me - gives me the chills, brings me to tears, catches me. It is relaxing, inspiring, and invigorating at once. That is the deep emotional connection dance makes for me.

In Martha Graham's words, Dance is the hidden language of the soul. 

Gary Galbraith and Elizabeth Auclair In Martha Graham's "Errand Into the Maze"
Photo by John Deane

How has the MGDC impacted the world of dance?
Where do I begin? Martha Graham is recognized as one of the great creative geniuses of the 20th century. Often referred to as the founding mother of modern dance, she was an American dancer and choreographer who choreographed 181 works in her lifetime and invented a codified technique comparable to ballet in its scope. Her work was revolutionary. She founded her company in 1926 and choreographed her last work, the extraordinary Maple Leaf Rag, in 1990 at the age of 96. She trained and influenced generations of other artists, from Baryshnikov to Merce Cunningham to Madonna.

When she was alive, the Company was an official cultural ambassador for our country, touring and performing around the world, which it continues to do today. It's the oldest dance company in America - the oldest modern dance company in the world - but sustains a vital commitment to innovation and experimentation. And today, in addition to performing the Graham masterworks, the Company is making another bold move - under the artistic direction of Janet Eilber - to commission leading choreographers to create new work for the company and to make the work more accessible to audiences.

That's what this Kickstarter project is about.

Martha Graham Dance Company in Larry Keigwin’s "Lamentation Variation"
Photo by Christopher Jones

Who is Nacho Duato and why will this new work be so special?
Nacho Duato is a Spanish dancer and choreographer who is making his mark across Europe and the US. Next September, he will become the Chief of Berlin State Ballet. He's choreographed major works for ABT, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet. Earlier this year, he created a work for the Graham Company - a work that is really about torture - and it's insane. So powerful. So contemporary. Gorgeous movement. That's a starting place for why.

This second collaboration, featuring men and women, has all the potential to be even more powerful - building upon the creative collaboration and rapport between him and the dancers. I should say, the Graham dancers, who come from all over the world, are just at the absolute top. They can do anything. 

Katherine Crockett and Martin Lofsnes in Martha Graham's "Acts of Light"
Photo by John Deane

Why and how can someone give to your Kickstarter Campaign?
We are most excited about this project because it's a way to bring people - anywhere in the world - into the creative process, to experience what it takes to make a major work of art. As a backer, you'll receive updates on the first day Nacho arrives in New York and enters the studio in February, updates throughout the process - as the work is cast, created, rehearsed, premiered, and booked for touring. Choreography, music, costumes, set. All of it. A final rehearsal will be live streamed from inside the studio. It should be cool!

The work is premiering at New York City Center on March 20. Our Backers can say they made it happen and walk into the theater with incredible insight.

Visit here to watch our video and learn more about the project. Follow it, share it, back it. 

The first 3 readers who donate to the Kickstarter campaign will receive 2 tickets each to an exclusive in-studio performance of their choice. Dates available January-February.

Tadej Brdnik and Miki Orihara in Martha Graham's "Appalachian Spring"
Photo by John Deane

We hear a lot of talk about how funding is being cut in schools for arts/music/dance. Why is it so imperative that children have access to these things?
It's important because it's part of what makes us whole human beings. I see my two year old son grab his guitar (yukele, really) every single morning and just walk around our apartment strumming and singing, and I think, I know, this is fundamental. It needs to be valued and nurtured. I also think the arts are a way to cultivate essential life skills like discipline and creativity. I can't imagine school (childhood) without the arts, just as I can't imagine school without sports.

Martha Graham School
Photo by David Penner

On the subject, here are some values shared by the Marta Graham School:

  • We want children to understand the value of self-expression and through that expression, the value of self. 
  • We want to give them an opportunity to deeply connect with what they have to say by giving them alternative ways to say it.
  • We want them to understand success and accomplishment in a way that may not be available to them in the more traditional academic approach.
  • We want children to have an informed perspective of themselves within a greater understanding of the world.
Kenneth Topping and Katherine Crockett in Martha Graham's "Circe"
Photo by John Deane

How can our readers make the MGDC a part of our community?
Invite Graham II, the School's pre-professional performance group, into your schools for lecture-demonstrations or mini performances.

Lobby your communities for the Martha Graham School's Teens@Graham in-school residency program to be a part of your local middle school or high school.

Invite the Artistic Director and members of the Graham Company into your homes and clubs for extraordinary private events. Seriously, we can make this happen! It should be noted we do have a number of dedicated supporters in Connecticut.

Martha Graham School
Photo by David Penner

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lip Service

Love your lips people! Especially as the winds start to whip up, the air gets drier, and the weather gets colder this winter. eos (Evolution of Smooth) is a brand worth knowing. Their balm is the bomb! The orb-shaped packaging of their lip balm is super cool and makes them easy to find in the bottom of any bag. The best price we've found is at Target where you can grab any one of their 7 lip balms for $2.99. The balms are full of shea butter and vitamin E. "Summer Fruit" is my favorite - it smells like peaches and strawberries and is slightly sweet tasting on the lips. It's also gluten, paraben, petrolatum, and phthalate free. All good news. Get yourself some silky smooth lips pronto!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sentimental Videography

Many moons ago in a time that now feels far away I was a television reporter. I was an in-front-of-the-camera girl. While many of you may think I am a limelight kind of person if I am being frank I was never completely at ease in front of the camera. I covered breaking news in New York City and was out on the streets facing gruesome content night after night. It was a heck of a learning lesson - a lesson that lasted more than 5 years - but it was a chapter of my life I was happy to see closed. Or so I thought... 

I left TV to become a full time mom. That job has been my magnum opus. It has filled my heart with more love, pride, and humility than anything else ever could have. While I know it was the right decision to leave NY1 (the last newsroom where I worked full time) every so often I have found myself wondering what could have been if I had stayed the course. More and more in recent years I found I missed the interviews, the learning, the power of the message conveyed, and the pace of the work. I truly thought that chapter was closed but as fate would have it - a series of fortuitous events recently helped me to create a second career that uses the best of what I learned while working in TV.

This time around I am no longer in front of the camera and I am calling the shots on the content that I cover. I get to create story-boards, interview incredibly interesting people, and the schedule is flexible. The relationships I have been able to hand pick have been with wonderful non-profits. I am elated to help them share their stories. 

Because that is how fate works. Ask (and I did in the dark moments long after my husband had fallen asleep and I lay awake in my bed wondering about my next step) and you shall receive. I asked God to help me find a way to use my voice and talents to help others share good messages. And then the obstacles fell away from the path I was meant to take... Introducing Sentimental Videography. The newest branch on the tree that is this brand. I have officially launched a business that will create videos for individual people, non-profits, businesses, and schools. To get a better sense of what we can do please visit the Sentimental Videography page in the toolbar above or simply click here

The video we recently created for The Center for Hope and Renewal

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Favorite Fall Coats

Favorite Fall Coats

{Saint Laurent Wool Duffle Coat $2720 vs J.Crew Colorblock Duffle Coat $350}

Nothing says fall like a brand new coat. Since I spend most of my days kicking around town with kids in tow I need something warm and comfortable. Pockets are always preferred since I seem to be the receptacle of choice for candy wrappers, acorn collections, and discarded hair ties. It also must be chic enough to make my usual attire of sweaters and jeans look pulled together. I love the idea of a duffle coat this year. Perfect with skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors and equally as good with wide leg pants and platform boots in the evening. The Saint Laurent featured above is stunning - but the J.Crew is super-wearable and more budget friendly. The Duffle is nautical. It's slightly preppy. And it's so very current. It's now been moved to the top of my list. Santa, are you paying attention???

And the inspiration...

Alexa Chung

Olivia Palermo

Taylor Swift

J.Crew (same as above)

Vogue Spain


Amy Merrick

Taylor Tomasi Hill

Amanda Peet

The Sartorialist