Kick Up Your Heels, For Fashion-Investments

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For a pretty long time, I’ve been wanting a pair of booties. But, not just any booties… I’ve been holding out for the perfect pair.

My criteria was simple – but, specific: quality, durability, and versatility. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cutting corners, when it comes to purchasing personal items such as clothing. However, as I’ve grown a little older, I’ve become more inclined to “invest” in items of quality. (And, while this philosophy may lead to spending a lot of cash on an item that has a less-expensive alternative, I’ve learned that you really get what you pay for. In most cases, at least!)

Anyways. Last night, my wish finally came true, when I accidentally stumbled on this pair of Frye short boots…Discounted to $100, down from around $348.  SCORE!

And they’re so comfortable, too! I can’t wait for our “Floridian Fall” weather to really start kicking in, so that I can fully enjoy them.

Here are some additional items I’d love to pair with my new acquisition, if money…truly…was no object.

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  1. Pleated Lace-Stripe Silk Blouse, J.Crew
  2. Mercer Brown Leather Messenger, Ernest Alexander
  3. Collin Skinny Jeans | Stella, HUDSON  (Perhaps, my favorite jeans…EVER.)
  4. Terrarium Pendant, Yellow Owl Workshop
  5. Taylor Short Boot, Frye
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Finding Micanopy

Last Fall, my mother-in-law introduced us to Micanopy – a tiny, sleepy, little town that you’d completely miss, if you blinked while driving along 441. My mother-in-law knows of all sorts of interesting places that are under the radar, from a time in her life when she owned a motorcycle; and conducted a lot of her own exploration. I completely trust her judgement, when she insists on showing us someplace new!

Just south of Gainesville, Micanopy is a hidden treasure. Here are some interesting facts, about this Southern delight that’s cocooned in a time-capsule from the 20th Century:

  • It’s romantic.  I fantasize about returning to Micanopy for a long weekend… Staying at the Herlong Mansion, leisurely strolling in and out of the antique shops that pepper the main street, and eating homemade comfort food in the cafes that populate downtown. (Doesn’t Herlong look amazing? It’s, also, pictured below; and I fantasize about lounging on its wrap-around porches with a great book and a mint julep.)
  • It’s a haven, for antiques.  Or, it’s “heaven” for antiques. Whichever way you want to look at it! There’s so much vintage eye-candy in Micanopy, I thought I might go into sensory-overdrive. Authentic, Ball mason-jars from the 1920’s…incredible, wooden furniture…Relics galore, that you wouldn’t believe would be collected in one location, outside of a museum. And, (almost) all of them, for sale. On my next return, I’m making it a point to put some cash aside, to invest in quality pieces.
  • It offers other great shopping.  If you’re not into antiques; but you are interested in purchasing decorative items for your home, there are other options. The Shop is a fantastic little space, offering a huge variety of decorative items and folk art. (Thanks to my visit to The Shop, I now know of Johanna Parker – who has become a staple in my home, when decorating for Halloween.)
  • Bring cash.  It’s the 21st Century, now; so, most of the businesses accept debit/credit cards. However, I emphasize that this is a (wonderful) little town that’s very dated; and it’s better to be safer than sorry, in a financial pinch. Bring cash, just to stay covered.
  • It’s, secretly, famous!  Ever hear of a little film called Doc Hollywood, with Michael J. Fox? That was filmed in Micanopy. (In fact they used Herlong Mansion, for the exterior shots of the mayor’s home, during production of the film!)

Enjoy the photos below – and, if you want to see my full gallery, click here.

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Late Nights and Bright Mornings

585760b916f2e75b3abd6437491801d6(Image Credit: Art direction, artwork and design of Foals “Holy Fire” album cover, by Leif Podhajsky)

Happy Monday, ya’ll!

I had a great weekend…Exactly what I needed, after the exhausting week I’d touched on last Friday.  On Saturday, Hubby and I had an awesome morning together, before he had to go to work.  Like myself, H works in the Entertainment Industry.  Unlike myself, his schedule fluctuates from week to week; and he usually works on weekends, while I have the time off.

After a morning of running errands with our fur-babies (Caspian and Bella), we took them to a local dog park.  Since Hubby and I don’t have any children, Cass and Bella have filled the gap…  Therefore, a trip to the dog park is truly like a “traditional” family outing.

As we drove to the park, Hubby insisted on playing his latest musical acquisition over the sound system.  “You HAVE to hear this!”, he exclaimed.  “Please, can I play this for you?”

“Sure.”, I replied, smiling at his enthusiasm.  When Hubby falls in love with something, he becomes giddy, like a kid.  (I find it endearing.)

With that, he pressed “play”.  I listened, letting the song that filled my ears to wash over me like rain.  It was beautiful and soulful…

I hope you take the time to press “play”, on the video above, so that you can have the chance to experience what I felt.

Wishing you a great morning, day, and week ahead!

 

Refresh, Recharge, Renew

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I’ll be honest, this past week has been a pretty tiring week.  (I know – that’s not quite what you’d expect as an opening line, when the accompanying image is this gorgeous sunset that you see before you.)  I’m still trying to get used to blogging on a regular basis, when I already have so many other (time-consuming) things on my plate.

And, if I’m going to be really honest, I should admit that…on many occasions through this past month…I’ve been up until the wee hours of the morning…fighting for blog inspiration, editing photos, and mustering the ability to write content.  Hopefully, it’s been engaging stuff, up to this point; but, I feel that I haven’t reached my full potential in this space I’m carving for myself.  I’ve been so drained with getting things started, it’s prevented me from focusing on writing that’s of quality.

I know I can make this little blog so much better than it’s been.  The words can be so much more insightful.  The topics so much richer.  What I need, is to find a balance between contributing to my place here; and my place in the “non-digital” world…

When I searched through my photo archives, for inspiration on how to conclude this week, I came across these images.  They’re from the trip that Hubby and I took to Greece, when we were on our honeymoon.  And, while I realize that it might not make very much sense to publish these, when this blog is supposed to be dedicated to my life in AMERICA…  I’m posting these, regardless.

It’s a serene looking place; isn’t it?  Well, the pictures don’t do it justice.  It was heaven on Earth.  Literally.  I don’t remember a place making me feel more at peace; or, giving me as much of a sense of possibility in the world.  And, perhaps that’s the point…  Maybe I need to get back to living a sense of that; and not complicate things for myself…

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I hope you have a a wonderful weekend. I’m planning to spend mine, relaxing, so that I may return here next week…refreshed and ready to give this my all.

Using Weapons of Mass Creation

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After my last venture into the realm of DIY artwork, I became infected with an insatiable hunger for creating more.  It was a lot of fun…and, (good news/bad news) I have a LOT of empty wall space.  And, after visually ingesting so much of Rifle Paper over the internet, I was left with a particular thirst for implementing Rifle-style.

So, I did what I always do.  I got back on good ol’ Google and scoured for my next muse(s).  After seeing this, finding this and also reading this – my next DIY concept was born!

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1. I selected my “weapons” of mass creation.  Lately, my preference has been gouache, such as the assortment of Turner Acryl Gouache paints that are pictured above.

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2.  I printed out the design I’d selected, traced it, and transferred it to Arches watercolor paper.  After selecting this simple color scheme of black and gold, I got to work!

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3. Mission completed. Now I can sit back, and enjoy the frills of filling another empty space with beautiful art!

What are some of your thoughts, on how this turned out?

My Role in The Entertainment Industry

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Since I made the decision to start this blog at the beginning of this month, I’ve been fairly quiet about a particular subject, when I’ve talked about myself. I refer to the different roles I currently play within the Entertainment Industry.

I’ve made the conscious effort to downplay this part of my life, when I write, for a few different reasons… One motivating factor is an intent to keep this – my personal blog – completely separate from my place of work. The thoughts and opinions that I’ve shared these past two weeks (and will continue to share) are mine; and mine, alone. And I don’t want this distinction to be blurred.

Another reason I haven’t talked about my entertainment experience, is from a fear that you – my reader – might become more invested in my background…and less invested in my prowess as an artist or designer.

I’m realizing that, while I still believe these are valid concerns, I really should let you guys in on this part of my life. Because, it’s a huge part of who I am; and you can’t really get to know me, if I don’t peel back this layer of myself.

So, here’s is a bit more about me – my background and what separates me from a lot of others who also write about art, design, and home décor:

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By day, I work in marketing, for a media and television production company.  We produce a few different TV shows that are geared to empower women; and they’re televised on a major, American, television network.  While I don’t feel comfortable disclosing the name of my organization, the network our shows air on, or even the very identities of our shows – I’m happy to tell you that I love working in television. I’ve met all kinds of celebrities (such as Josie Bissett, above), and I continue to learn so much about this facet of the industry.

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Another tidbit: Sometimes cool things happen at my office, like the time that Hulk Hogan made an unannounced visit. No, not everything about my workplace is glamorous; but, it’s not your typical business-setting, either.

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In addition to the work I do in television, I also do some freelance stuff through the Crest Theatre in Delray Beach.  (I’m happy to name-drop them!  lol.)  I’ve been working with The Crest, since 2004, and I consider much of the staff almost as family.  (Above is a snapshot of me working backstage at an Everclear concert.)

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Above: Some behind-the-scenes candids taken at The Crest, during a production of “Sleeping Beauty” with the Moscow Ballet on Ice.

I could tell you all kinds of stories, about the people I’ve encountered while working in theatre.  Particularly, when it comes to the national tours of shows that have passed through; and some of the Broadway personalities I’ve met.  But, that’ll have to be some other time…

For now, I’m glad to finally open up a bit more about this, and pull back the curtain…ever-so-slightly.

Applying Passion: In Home & Life

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Yesterday, I spoke a bit about my spontaneous road trip to Anna Bond’s studio in Winter Park.  I admit that I’ve been a little obsessive about Rifle Paper, lately – which isn’t uncharacteristic of me, when I become passionate about something.  For me, being truly passionate involves falling head-over-heels in love with an ideal; and, in the case of Rifle’s aesthetic, this translates to loving its representation of whimsy, timelessness, class, and beauty.  Fundamentally, these are all things that I try to apply in my own life.

So – being the die-hard Rifle fanatic that I’ve become, of course I bought some goodies, upon my little pilgrimage into “The World of Ms. Bond.”  Some things I purchased out of necessity; others, out of sheer pleasure.  All-in-all, this is what I took home…and how I plan to use these items, as I apply my passion into my life and home:IMG_0894

Above: This iPhone case was bought, out of total necessity.  I ordered the iPhone 5s, on September 20th, as my sad little Android is dying.  (It’s become the technological equivalent, to being placed in hospice.)  While I’m still waiting for my new phone to arrive, I’m pleased to have this case on-hand.

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Above: I’ve been thinking about keeping a diary, to measure my progress as a blogger. I’ve kept diaries, on-and-off, all of my life; and I find it useful, to reflect on a particular period of my personal history. This journal should serve me well, for this purpose.

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Above: Ok. To be perfectly realistic, I didn’t need these notebooks in my life. But, I wanted them. Instead of using them for their intended purpose, I’m thinking of having them framed and hung as wall art. (They could, potentially, go in just about any room in our home.)

So, all-in-all, my trip was productive. More importantly, it makes me look forward, to my next adventure!

An Impromptu Trip to Rifle Paper Co.

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It’s not often that I come across a brand that has such a deep and lasting affect on me, in which my overall taste becomes impacted. Come to think of it, I really can’t think of any previous examples of this ever happening to me!

…With one exception, after coming to know the Rifle Paper Co

Rifle Paper is the brainchild of Anna Bond – an illustrator whose work has catapulted to the top of my list of favorites.  Rifle’s products are becoming accessible all over the world; but, their headquarters is located in Winter Park, Florida – which isn’t that far from me.  (It’s not exactly close, either.  A little over a three-hour drive.  So, it’s accessible within a day’s trip; but, a bit out of the way.)

I’ve been looking for the perfect excuse to visit Rifle’s main store, for just under a year or so.  A few days ago, their Facebook page advertised that they were having their Autumn Sample Sale, this past Friday and Saturday.  Seeing that was just the push I needed to send me over the edge; and get moving to Winter Park!

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Above: One of several tables, outside of Rifle’s brick and mortar shop, with various products for sale at discounted prices.

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Above: Rifle’s meeting room, modified to accommodate a full spread of discounted and specially priced items.

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Above: The reception area. (Loved the added warmth from the flowers, and the Halloween touch with the small bowl that was filled with candy corn.)

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Above: The main showroom – and heart of the store!

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Above: A nice view of the street. (Also, I’m such a sucker for a beautifully dressed window display.)

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Above: Another shot of the reception area. But, if you look closely at this one, you can see a slight capture of the behind-the-scenes operations. (Basically, I’m referring to their fulfillment area – where personnel was organizing products and preparing orders for shipment.) I didn’t want to distract anyone from their work, by leering around the corner with a camera; so, I really tried my best to be discreet.

I’m so happy that I decided to just get in my car and go. Hubby thinks I’m crazy, to go all that way by myself, just to turn around and immediately head back home. But, I don’t care. It was invigorating!

In Close-Up: A Self-Portrait (Age 24-31)

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I’m not one of those people who freaks every time I find a new line on my face.  On the contrary, I’m kind of fascinated by aging…

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Above: Me, at the age of 24.

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Above: At the age of 25.

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Above: At 30.

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Above: Me, today, at the “ripe old age” of 31.

I think I’m going to stop here and just allow the pictures to speak for themselves…

I wish you all a fabulous weekend!  I’m planning to do a bit of traveling, over my own weekend – and, if all goes according to plan, I should have some interesting stuff to share with you next week!

Grateful

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My grandparents on my father’s side of my family were Jewish and Holocaust survivors. (That’s them, pictured above, on the day of their wedding.) My grandfather was originally from Germany – my grandmother was from Romania.  And as traumatic as their individual experiences were during WWII (particularly for my grandma – who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz), the reality is that I wouldn’t exist if history had played out any other way.

You see, they went to separate concentration camps; and it wasn’t until they were finally liberated and sent to the same hospital in Sweden, that they were able to meet and fall in love.  I’m thankful that they were strong enough to survive the war and find one another, despite the cost of whom they lost along their journey.

My mother’s parents were a contrast, culturally.  For one thing, they weren’t Jewish.  And they had been born and raised in America, versus growing up as Eastern Europeans and immigrating to the US.  I had a really special connection with my American grandmother, whom I called “Grandma Ohio” or “Grandma ‘Hio”.  (The nickname originated, when I was little.  It started with some song she’d always serenade me with, that had “Ohio, Ohio!” in the lyrics.)

My Grandma ‘Hio showed me the value of world-history, as she was insanely interested in things like Egyptology and England’s royal family-tree.  A gifted fine-artist, she passed her creativity down to me like the passing of the Olympic torch.  And finally, she taught me that traveling the world is one of life’s most exhilarating experiences.

It was after Grandma ‘Hio passed away, in the Spring of 2006 – that I learned she never truly had the opportunity to travel.  She went to London, sometime in the 1970’s; and that was the only time she went anywhere, in her entire lifetime.  Perhaps she was so grateful for the blessings in her life, that it masked her life’s regrets?  (I’ll never know.)

Below is an item that she’d bought from “Dickens Old Curiosity Shop”, through her only voyage across the Atlantic.  It’s one of my most cherished keepsakes – and it serves an important reminder:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

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