Plumes and Panache

April 16, 2010


Pa*nache n.

1. a dashing manner; style; swagger
2. (Clothing & Fashion) a feathered plume on a helmet

[via French from Old Italian pennacchio, from Late Latin pinnāculum feather, from Latin pinnafeather; compare Latin pinnāculumpinnacle]

I’m pretty sure I wore the word incarnate at a wedding recently.

It was a lovely Conservative wedding in the Puritan midwest, far from my free spirited comfort zone, but my confidence soared.

Scott Wilson headdress

Helmeted with a wraparound braid (firmly secured to my head so as not to scatter and frizz on the dance floor) and adorned by faux flora and true feather, I strode into battle, a fierce defender of individuality, bravado and fun.

That’s me on the right.

Notice the gently sprouting plumage.

Ignore the handsome gentlemen on the left.

He’s taken.

Birds fly and flaunt…

chirp and sing….

Why should we be gilded and chained?

vintage feather necklace

Why not dream of taking wing!

by designer Miss KK & available at www.BonaDrag.com

…and launch a stylish flight of fancy…

design by Laura Kranitz

“…birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why, can’t I…”

-E.Y. Harburg

Spring Rain

April 9, 2010

Today on the East Coast it is cloudy and cool

…with 60% chance of precipitation…

…and likely thunderstorms.

Yesterday was sunny and warm.

Spring is settling in and we are all scrambling to adjust.  There are more hours of light and greater clarity of our surroundings. There is immense relief as we stretch our legs, step outside and escape from our indoor imprisonment.

Then, there is significant disappointment in the set back of a rainy day.

There are ways to ease the tense tether of wet grey skies,

and perhaps ways to revel in the ties that bind.

Light candles…Listen to music…Write a letter…

Visit a quiet indoor space…Sip from a mug…Read a book…

Look…Listen…Watch the rain…Hear the wind…

Let all other preoccupations wait, and just be where you are

…with what you have.

The time we spend weathering the inclement

is what makes sunny comfort so anticipated.

Jars sans Jelly

April 2, 2010

With all the fanciful things jars can contain,

they capture little bits of the best things in life!

Bring some sweet

bright

comforting

…charming…


rustic…


…natural…

pure

refreshing…


…elegant

…STYLE into your LIFE!

That was extremely enthusiastic for a segment on jars.

But they are precious…affordable…recyclable…non toxic…portable…and readily available to us all!

As a metaphor for living life with style,

I would like to encourage you all to devour the jelly, and free the jar!!!

Pain and Pushing Through

March 29, 2010

Today I witnessed a girlfriend’s breaking heart

…and my child’s cramping leg.

Each one a casualty of unfamiliar and unforeseen pain,

they braved their injuries.

My five year old son cried frequently every time his hurt leg set down to carry his weight.  My friend gracefully carried her burden with eyes only barely reddened by earlier tears.

When I see people that I care for go through the inevitable aches of life, my first instinct is to lift them up and assure them that everything will be alright.  Behind that instinct creeps the fear that something more sinister lies in wait.  That they might not recover.  I am an admitted paranoiac who constantly talks myself down from ledges of irrational worry.  But, ultimately, there is nothing that the human spirit cannot survive.  This becomes especially obvious if one is a person of faith in a higher power.  It is inspirational to me to see the strength in those suffering and the power and responsibility of the rest of us to impress hope upon them.  I’m not saying that depression won’t set in or that a kind of death will never come before it is welcomed, just that we are all justified in pushing through and insisting that better days are yet to come.

I’ve dealt with various levels of loss.  None would I consider personal tragedies, though some were agonizing.  My mind wanders to friends and family who are dealing with eminent tragic loss, and I keep going back to the hope and prayer that they will find within themselves the prescience that joy will be as possible as pain is unavoidable.

Later this evening, my son’s painful leg muscle relaxed in a hot bath with some gently coaxed stretching.  My friend’s heartache will undoubtedly take longer to heal.

Our physical and emotional scars mark a living history.

Whether we carry them with pride, prejudice or shame,

they are indelible proof that we have survived,

or better yet that we have LIVED.

A cramp in my Style

March 20, 2010

It’s about to happen, People.

I am going to burst the usual empowering-joy-bubble of my persona.

I’m not going to go into graphic detail or anything, but…what is the deal with all my goals, ambitions, optimism, energy, brain cells, sense of smell, sense of taste and sense of self flying out the window with the onset of my monthly curse/blessing/period?

I AM A POSITIVE PERSON WITH AN INDEFATIGABLE SPIRIT!!!

…3 weeks out of a month.

So…I’m going to ignore the absolute failure of the past day and 3/4 and set on a new path.

I’m going to write my blog with as much fervor as I can muster

from my couch!!

I may or may not exercise for a maximum of 10 minutes when I get up from my couch!

I’ve read that certain yoga poses help.

Supported Bridge Pose, Standing Forward Bend, Triangle Pose.  I might try those later….if I get off of my couch!

I’ve also read that running is a great option!

Unless it’s dark…and you live in the outskirts of the city…and you don’t want to get off of my couch.

Swimming is also supposed to be great for any of us

any time of the month.

If there’s a pool…at an inexpensive location, within short walking distance (or an easy drive in a car that I don’t have)

…of my couch.

*sigh*

I think my body and soul need a super dark chocolate covered coconut Atkins Endulge bar

(because I do have some dignity and am committed to a healthy way of life)

…while I lay on my couch.

exercise, breathing and meditation

These are the elements of the art of yoga,

and elements of optimum health for all of us!

Through 5,000 years and specified historical periods of yoga development, the art has evolved into an accessible form of wellness for all people.  We are surrounded with easily attainable ways to practice.

Yoga doesn’t need to be your life to be incorporated into your lifestyle.

What I have learned about yoga, is that it is incredibly efficient!  Not only are you working your cardiovascular system, fatiguing muscle groups and stretching and lengthening your body, you are also caring for your internal organs, glandular systems, emotional serenity and mental focus.

With a proper and educated practice, your entire system improves!

Spending about 20 minutes a day exercising doesn’t seem like a lot, but with a good yoga practice, it is enough to accomplish lengthening, strengthening, fat burning and mind centering.  Not bad for the little  time we have these days to care for ourselves!

Now, on days when you have more time to spare and want to get some truly intense fitness, there are sure to be yoga classes in your area!  I have friends who swear by the cleansing feeling of Bikram Yoga, and athletic enthusiasts who adore their Vinyasa. There are numerous styles to explore.

Classes generally run about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and I think it’s impossible to leave feeling less than renewed, empowered, challenged and accomplished!  Can’t afford classes?  Me niether!

FREE yoga practice is available  on www.exercisetv.com

My absolute favorite free video happens to be led by my amazing sister!  Search under “workouts”, then “free full length”, then “instructor” and “Elise Gulan”…and prepare to be challenged!

Elise Joan...fitness guru and celebrity trainer

She has a 45 minute yoga practice that is truly intense, even for those of us who consider ourselves physically fit!  She gives level options for each section of a flow, and there is amazing room for improvement and increased mastery.

My husband and I have been practicing yoga together in our living room several times a week.

We feel strong and centered every time.

…if only for a while

…and until we practice again.

Visions in White

March 6, 2010

It’s the eve of a good friend’s wedding, and my mind wanders to white.

White linens, white lights, white candles, white dress.

New beginnings!

New challenges,

New joys,

New responsibilites,

New fears and new comforts.

Upon self reflection, I see that I’m at a crossroads, and the endless possibility of a clean white slate appeals to me.  In the absence of color, we instinctively fill in the blank with imagination and personal vision!

The “newness” of white is energizing and provoking.

As so many of us do, I stand on the precipice of great changes.  My life, my family, my career, my body, my spirituality , my DREAMS…all in transition.   And the metamorphosis of these things and this self is as joyous and present as my good friend’s wedding, and as possible as white.

Envision the  blank pages of the rest of our story!

It’s sure to be dotted with mistakes and revisions, littered with marginal musings, well worn at the edges…

and filled with color.

Country Cottage Couture

February 26, 2010

cou·ture (k-tr, -tür)n.

1. The business of designing, making, and selling highly fashionable, usually custom-made clothing for women.
2. Dressmakers and fashion designers considered as a group.
3. The high-fashion clothing created by designers.

[French, sewing, from Old French cousture, from Vulgar Latin *cnstra, from Latin cnsuere, cnst-to sew togethercom-com-suere,to sew; see sy- in Indo-European roots.]
hmmmmm…
Despite this definition’s obvious allegiance to cloth…I think I can stretch the word’s use and understanding to describe “the business of designing, making, and selling highly fashionable, usually custom-made” decor for homes.
Ok!
Then…I also have to stretch the word “custom-made”
to describe anything put on this earth and/or crafted by human hands
that was proverbially meant just for one special space.
So…
to me…
in my Utopia…
when grouped with “country” and “cottage”…
the word “couture” becomes everything BUT it’s connotation alone.
It becomes the heart and soul and singularity of a truly country cottage inspired space.
I was swept away this week by the 2010 Cottage Style publication…which I am about to steal from my mother’s collection.  Page after page of gleaming whites, gorgeous wood tones and glimmering strokes of teal and green seem so timeless and natural.  I’ve always had a love affair with white wash and distressed painted finishes.  Their use in the hands of inspired individuals seem to provide endless possibility and undying re-invention.
Despite my liberties with the individual definitions of each word in this post’s title…it is no stretch to assume that those cozy, country, comforting, cottage-y types out there understand it perfectly.
It speaks to the painstaking collection of new and found objects
that gradually organize themselves into spaces that define us
and welcome our guests.
It beckons the mind’s eye to the wonder and whimsy of time, places and gatherings past.
It brings to mind tea and cookies, bread and wine, earth and hearth, sun and splendor, sugar and spice and surely
…all things nice.

Style Whisperer….shhhh

February 19, 2010

Don’t tell.

We all have guilty pleasures.

One of mine is watching ABC Studios’ The Ghost Whisperer…whenever I come across it….wherever I land in the episode.

My husband cringes, and I invariably find myself defending my adoration of the show!  I realized that EVERY time I gave my diatribe about why it’s “OK” for a discriminating actress to watch this fluffy piece of…fluff, I would end with my insatiable desire for the wardrobe of the lead character, Melinda Gordon (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt).

So there it is.

She is adorable.

Her wardrobe is adorable.

Her Victorian inspired HOME and all it’s vintage-eclectic decor is adorable.

And I love her hair and make-up, too.

I did a little research to find out where her pieces come from and sadly…so many of them are original vintage pieces.  But, thankfully, there is a resurgence of vintage inspired labels and boutiques!  Last week I highlighted a dear friend’s vintage inspired boutique, www.shopmadisonbelle.com, which is a phenomenal place to find unique housewares, gifts and fashion accessories.  I spent almost an hour (which we all know is hard to come by) browsing the gorgeous pieces on www.freepeople.com , and all us girls with any bit of ethereal flower child in us are die hard www.anthropologie.com fans!  These sites have some eye-popping and affordable accessories that speak to some of the greatest trends in fashion history, and individually create a stylish statement.  Wear one of these cute little trinkets with a basic cardigan, blazer or button down shirt and a pretty scarf or belt, and you’re transformed!

Most of the ensembles that Miss Melinda G. displays include a mix of modern items and vintage finds, including pieces from Cosabella, Willow, and Citizens of Humanity .  So, I know all you fun and fashion loving ladies (and gentlemen, too) can find a way to put your own spin on a combination of past and present threads.  Scour your thrift stores and treat yourself to a whimsical piece or two that will inspire a heavenly ensemble ala Melinda Gordon

…The Ghost Whisperer.

Where have I BEEN all my life!

Ha ha….

Well, in addition to being a personal lifestyle warrior, I’m a full time mom and an often times actress.  So, life got hectic for a while (thank goodness for steady work)…and I completely dissolved any contribution to my blog!  I see in the future, though, a time when I may be primarily rocking a style website, and I need practice writing down my thoughts and ideas.  I also need major help figuring out how to make this blog pretty.  It’s all in my head, but I’m technologically…slow…so there’s a learning curve.

For lack of my own adorable website, I would love to introduce you to my gorgeous and talented friend’s online boutique, Madison Belle!!!

This phenom-friend of mine, Brooke, is a truly passionate entrepreneur and an equally spirited soul!  Her site has been featured on many popular style blogs and she was even highlighted in Country Living.  She scours the land for the most adorable and crafty pieces with vintage flair.

Find a unique gift, or an amazing conversation piece to add style to your world!

the adorable style of http://www.shopmadisonbelle.com

See!  Comfort and style CAN be bought!!!

www.shopmadisonbelle.com