Tuesday, December 1, 2015

the man in the moon

Last week, my dad shared this advert will me and it is one of the most lovely clips I have seen in awhile. I couldn't think of a more perfect way to begin the Advent season, a season of joy, wonder, preparation, selflessness, giving, companionship and love.
There is no reason why we shouldn't treat Christmas like the most wonderful time of the year - because it truly is - but we should instead challenge ourselves to focus on sharing the wonder with those around us, including and especially, the ones that might not be so easy to reach.
I often wear myself out with planning my Christmas "must dos." Which movies to watch, the cookies to bake, the stores to shop, the Christmas notes to stamp, the outfits to wear, the gifts to buy, the list goes on and on. In the midst of all of the "busyness," I never get out of my own world and primary objective to make the most of my holiday. Of course, leave it to the advertising world to find the perfect story to totally pull my heart strings and inspire me for this season.
In this past Sunday's Second Reading 1 Thes 3:12-4:2, the passage begins with the following statement: "May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all."
What a tremendous consideration for the Advent season (that just so happens to go perfectly to this advertisement theme)... We are together in this world, for each other and for all. Wherever we may be, whether peering out a telescope or on the moon, how can we act together - for all - as we prepare for and welcome Christmas? Christmas is the arrival of life's joy, compassion, hope and really all that  is good in the world. Wouldn't you want to share that with everyone?
What can you do to celebrate the joy of Christmas this season?

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Friday, November 20, 2015

How would you react to a balloon invasion?

White balloons spill out the windows and doors of a house, invade a golf course and overflow from a burnt-out car in a series of installations (most famously, London's Covent Garden) by French artist Charles Petillon. 
In his Invasions series, Paris-based photographer and installations artist Petillon aims to use balloons to alter the way people perceive familiar things and spaces. 
"These balloon invasions are metaphors," said the artist. "Their goal is to change the way in which we see the things we live alongside each day without really noticing them."
"It is our way of looking at things that I am trying to transform and revive and therefore make it possible to go beyond practical perception to aesthetic experience: a visual emotion," he added. 

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Friday, November 13, 2015

20 Questions with Caroline Herrera

The Wall Street Journal's 20 Odd Questions interview this week was with Carolina Herrera.
Enjoy the interview below: 

VENEZUELAN BY BIRTH but a New Yorker at heart, Carolina Herrera belongs to an unusual class of fashion designers as well versed in manners, decorating and entertaining as they are on what a woman should wear.
Mrs. Herrera, 76, may prefer traditions to trends, but she isn’t stuffy. Even as she decries, say, older women in shorts or phones in restaurants, she does so with the glint of a playful smile. And with her own style—trim pencil skirts, crisp white shirts, not a hair out of place—the designer exemplifies how to be elegant.

That look has attracted many, including late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, for whom she’s posed several times—after a bit of convincing. (She dislikes having her picture taken.) One of those photos, from 1979, currently hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C., where, on Nov. 15, Ms. Herrera will be honored with a “Portrait of a Nation” prize, which recognizes the achievements of individuals depicted in its collection. We recently chatted with her about her youthful desire to smolder á la Garbo and the frumpiness epidemic in airports. 

The first thing I ever designed was:
A black dress, for myself, when I was 14 or 15. I wanted to be a vamp since I started watching movies from the 1930s and ’40s with Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, where they wore veils and hats and carried cigarette holders. My parents never allowed me to wear the dress after I made it.

Every morning:
I take a walk in the [Central Park] Reservoir for one hour. I wear tennis shoes but not exaggerated ones. I wear Keds. 

I never leave the house without:
Lipstick. When I have it on, I feel perfect. I used to like one from Bobbi Brown, then she stopped producing it. When I told her I wanted it back, she created it for me and called it “Carolina.” I think it sells very well now.

I have my breakfast:
In bed with my dog by my side. He has his own food, but I always give him a little something.

Fashion is all about:
Proportion. It has to be perfect. For example, the platform or wedge shoe looks good on a long leg, but terrible on a short leg.

One thing I wear every day is:
My Verdura watch from the ’40s. But this summer, when traveling in Italy, I wore the most beautiful white Swatch. It was divine. You can do whatever you want and not be afraid someone will steal it.

My fashion pet peeve is:
How people dress at the airport. It’s terrible. You know, if you dress up at the airport you will actually be taken care of perfectly. You’ll be the one who the stewards look after the most.

I organize my closet with:
All the skirts together, blouses together, evening together, same lengths together, all the same hangers.

The last white shirt I bought is from:
 Azzedine Alaïa. But my favorites are from Patrick Robinson when he worked at Gap. They’re washed by hand, with a little bit of starch. I always monogram them, too. 

When a bride asks for made-to-order dresses, I insist:
That she come alone. If a girl comes in with her family and best friend she lets them influence her too much. It’s one of the most important days in her life. She should be able to wear what she wants.

The secret to aging gracefully is:
Knowing what looks good on you at all ages. If you try to dress in a young way when you’re old, you’re going to look even older. Shorts, for example, are for young people with lovely legs.

I entrust my beauty regimen to: 
[Prominent dermatologist] Pat Wexler. It’s not my secret, but it’s the secret of many women who don’t say “hi” to her when they see her in the street.

I don’t eat:
Junk food. If someone puts potato chips in front of me, I’ll probably eat a little, but I’m not one of those people who goes to buy them.

My favorite restaurants in New York are:
La Grenouille and Indochine. La Grenouille is the more beautiful; it’s like being in a garden, full of flowers. It’s a civilized place where you can have a conversation.

I am a maniac about:
Setting tables and making beds. Both have to be perfect, my mother taught me that. I like linens from Schweitzer, D. Porthault or Pratesi.

My favorite hotel is:
The Ritz in Madrid. I’ve been going there for 50 years and it’s like a second home to me. It’s very classic; the service is impeccable.

My obsession of the moment is:
Netflix. I’ve been watching “Scandal” and a British series called “Midsomer Murders.”

I’m currently reading:
 Edna O’Brien’s book of short stories, “The Love Object.” It’s so good! I like to read, it’s one of the things I do to distract myself.

One downside to digital 21st-century life is:
There’s no privacy. I don’t mind if someone asks me to take a picture; it’s flattering. I tell them, “The photograph, yes, but the arm around me? No, please!” It’s invasive.

—J.J. Martin is the founder of retail website LaDoubleJ and the designer of LaDoubleJ Editions.

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