January 22, 2009

Reckless Anointments

The endless chatter about First Lady Michelle Obama’s wardrobe choices for Inauguration Day got me to thinking about those who have chosen to put needless, tiresome labels on the already heavy shoulders of this accomplished woman. I love fashion. I’ve even made a career for myself in fashion. And I have my own opinions about the brilliant lace ensemble by Isabel Toledo that she wore for day (loved it!) and the creamy, one-shouldered evening gown by Jason Wu (not my favorite). But when I hear commentary that anoints Mrs. Obama as “the savior of the American fashion industry”, I worry. I was horrified at a comment that basically called her selections an “embarrassment for our country”. What? It’s just a freakin’ dress!

Thank goodness that we live in a country where we have the right to speak our collective minds about any and every topic we choose, where we are so incredibly blessed to have the right to opinions but when we start to tie world issues to a person’s own sense of style, a clear picture becomes evident of just how thoughtless, feebleminded and one dimensional some can be. When we put overdone emphasis and pointless markers on people who have much more important things to focus on like being a great mother and the quest to help bring a sense of peace to military families, it’s no wonder why our skewed priorities have brought us to this troublesome place we now find ourselves.

Fashion is so many wonderful things but it’s not the stuff great countries or great people are made of.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

January 12, 2009

Astrological Madness

My planets are aligned. Jupiter has entered Aquarius and crowned me the celestial favorite this year says Susan Miller, my favorite online astrologer. She also says I will attract many new people to my path and I will benefit from my association with many of them. I can see that this is already happening through my many new associations on Twitter, new design clients and an informal, inspirational group of fellow entrepreneurs in my town. The fact is astrology is so much more than zodiac signs, horoscopes or compatibility charts. Wikipedia says “Astrology (from Greek ἄστρον, astron, "constellation, star"; and -λογία, -logia, "the study of") is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs in which knowledge of the apparent relative positions of celestial bodies and related details is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.” I’ve been following the monthly astrological guidance of Susan and the daily and weekly forecasts of Bridgett Walther for many years. Call me new age-y but astrology makes me feel that there’s just one more influence that can give me a perspective. It may not be based on real science but its fun and a lot of times uncannily accurate.

Mercury, the planet of communications, has just entered its first 3 week retrograde period for 2009. There will be 3 more this year, 1 more than usual. When a planet goes retrograde, it appears to be moving backwards, at least from our perspective on Earth. In astrology, this typically means that travel plans are disrupted, electronic communications like emails and faxes could be lost, one-on-one conversations can be misconstrued. It is advised to not sign or enter into any contractual obligations or buy new electronics because whatever you do may have be returned, re-done or re-worked once Mercury gets back on course. Unless you’re a believer, you’re probably laughing right now but during Mercury’s last retrograde period for 2005 and 2006, my computers imploded and all data was lost both times. In 2007, I missed receiving 3 very important emails with call to action requests on 3 different days during a retrograde. Last year, while traveling to Philadelphia by train, the tracks which we were traveling on separated causing a 4 hour delay. I can give even more examples of frustrating situations that have happened to people I know during Mercury’s fury. Coincidence? Bad luck? Perhaps but I lay low when this planet’s in a time warp. The best astrological advice I’ve received for how to coexist with these forces is to use the time to reflect and regroup. It’s the perfect time to organize your existence and plan for the future. Yes, life goes on and we are powerless to stop it but we can use caution in our everyday decisions and dealings. Check out this 2008 Mercury retrograde calendar and try to remember what kooky but significant events may have occured that could have been the result of this planetary phenomenon. If you’re still not a believer, that’s ok. I’ll bet that now when your Blackberry stops working or you don’t receive an important voicemail message from your boss, you'll remember this blog post and wonder...

By the way, this retrograde period ends on February 1st. Oh yeah, backup your laptops now too.

January 8, 2009

A State of Optimal Health

Deepak Chopra writes in his book, Perfect Health, that “the mind exerts the deepest influence on the body”. I know this to be true in my never-ending quest to seek more balance in my life. While Western medicine will always be my preferred choice whenever I have a medical issue, I am not jaded enough to believe that there aren’t any other methods that can be used alone or in conjunction with traditional methodologies. I’ve developed a particular interest in the holistic approach to health, Ayurveda (Sanskrit meaning “science of life”), a centuries old practice from India that may have had roots in Buddhism. The use of natural medicines (herbs), consumption of the freshest of whole foods and lifestyle practices such as yoga, massage and meditation is an appealing way of living. Studying Ayurveda is compelling, something I’ve put on my “bucket list”, not to become a practitioner, per se, but to gain more knowledge of how enveloping these ancient principles can work in today’s overstuffed, overwhelmed, over stimulated world. The Kripalu School in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, is one of the best and offers various levels of certification and training.

Since I started suffering from hormonal migraines a few years ago, I’ve gone through the normal pain relieving stages most migraine sufferers go through: over-the-counter meds, change in diet, perhaps eliminating dairy (which can be a trigger in some), doctor prescribed drugs. Massage hasn’t been a relief nor has caffeine. Quietly chanting “pain go away” 100 times has been useless. Hiding my head under pillows and weeping has proven to be just a method for terrifying my boyfriend. So I’m trying acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves sterile needles being placed and manipulated in strategic locations in your body’s meridians. I’ve been told by trusted sources that Jill Blakeway at YinOva Center in New York City works miracles. I’m making an appointment.

I do the research. I ask questions, get recommendations and ask to see credentials. I take my quest for optimal health seriously but with a mind open to new ways and new philosophies. Especially in these times, caring for your mind, body and spirit together are essential to our overall wellbeing. Whatever ways you choose to live your life well, don’t stop, keep exploring, stay healthy.

January 5, 2009

For the Love of Gemstones

Rubies, sapphires and emeralds are lush precious stones that while not as popular or as coveted as diamonds, all played essential roles in helping me to create some of the most passion-filled jewelry I’ve ever done. I have spent the past few months using these stones as well as others that are unique and unheralded such a vessonite, andaluscite and prehnite to make a very special LUXE collection of jewelry sold online exclusively at 1000 Markets.

I usually don't promote my jewelry in blog posts. I've preferred to share the beauty of other's accomplishments. But this body of work came straight from my soul. The true passion for what I do as a jewelry designer is spoken through every necklace. The process was complex, maniacal and sometimes took too much from me. I worked long hours on colors and dimensions. I researched new gems and then began feverish, obsessive hunts for the dealer or vendor that sold the best quality. My eyes burned as I twisted tiny wire into loops and pulled silk threads through needle eyes so small that my magnifying glasses steamed up in revolt from the pressure.

But through it all, I would not trade one sleepless night, missed meal or pierced fingertip. It’s every designer’s dream to be able to connect so closely to their work and I think this collection has brought me full circle. Please enjoy. Now, will I ever be able to part with any of it?!


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