Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Get Twiggy With it!

There seems to be no end to the organic twiggy trend in design these days and I for one, love it.  I recently scored this awesome Bill Sofield lamp at the close out sale at Studio B in Oakville and I was so excited at my luck, I could barely contain myself!  That is it in the photo above - it looks better in real life.  The base is covered in ivory leather and the actual twiggy part is a bit more gold in tone.  I have not put it anywhere yet, as I actually do not have a spot for it.  I plan to put in on the hallway console table I have yet to buy! 

Or, alternatively, on the desk I have yet to buy.  It is in my storage locker for now, and every now and again, I look around my condo and try to figure out a place it could go in the meantime, but there really is no spot for it no matter how hard I try. Crazy, right?  Buying a lamp I cannot use.  But I will, and soon. Either that, or one of my friends is going to get a really nice hostess gift at their cottage this summer!  Hopefully before the twiggy trend goes by way of the coral trend.  OK, so the coral can still work in certain applications - surely in your Hampton's house or your Caribbean villa, but in Toronto, it's a bit of a stretch.  I would allow a nice chunk on a book shelf, or one piece of wall art, but PLEASE, stop at one.  Don't repeat.  Even though repetition is something we use in design, that is not what we are talking about.

Same for the twiggy thing.  One hit.  Not twigs and branches everywhere.  There are some great twiggy lighting ideas on this website - take a look.  www.instyle-decor.com.  One wall sconce in particular.  Love this one below.

You could do a pair of these depending on the wall size and what you were flanking, but again, exercise caution.  Two could be overkill here.

As for my lamp, it will remain rooted in my building basement for now, perhaps it will be ready for its debut, its leafing out, so to speak in the spring or summer when the proper home is found. 

Perhaps a reclaimed wood console table base with a nice glass top.....I will be hunting.

If anyone sees one on sale, let me know! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar and Me

This will be a live streamed blog as I watch the Oscars.  It is now 8:47 pm EST.  The red carpet show is over and the actual awards have begun. 

First things first.  With all the dresses available in the world, you would think there would not be even one ugly dress worn.  But, alas, there may be a lot of money available to spend on them, but that does not guarantee the buyers have taste.  Or even an eye for what looks good on their own bodies.  My GAWD, what are some of these women thinking? For starters, forest/hunter green belongs in nature, not on one's body, unless you have red hair and alabaster skin - Glenn Close - take note.

On a more positive note, everyone could take a lesson from Gwyneth Paltrow - the best dress, hand's down - elegant, feminine, sleek.  And you can say, well, anything would look good on that body, but in her case, it is both.  She has the body to carry anything, but she also chooses the most tasteful gowns in the softest most luscious colours and fabrics and the simple addition of just a diamond studded cuff and big dinner ring, no earrings, no necklace - so understated - perfection.  Close behind was Penelope Cruz in her steely grey chiffon with that off the shoulder wrap neckline accentuating the sexy curve of her neck and collarbone and fitted bodice followed by the full billowing layers of silky chiffon - the ultimate princess dress that any girl would look great in, no matter the body shape or size.

Third place is awarded to George Clooney's girlfriend, (former wrestler! WTF!?), Stacy Keibler.  Maybe George likes being pinned down? Anyway, her dress looked like spun gold, draping her tall lithe figure like the designer just took the fabric and wrapped her in it and fashioned a rosette on her right pelvic bone - like those DIY drapery swags we used to do on our windows in the 80's, but much better of course.  Her golden blonde hilighted hair worn long and pulled to one side, the opposite side of the rosette, was the perfect balancing act and her chunky diamond drop earring that was so boldly exposed was the right weight and shape for her face and added the ideal sparkle and glam.  She looked exquisite. 

A few other observations.  Emma Stone - too much bow!, Jennifer Lopez - too many creases, Milla Jovovich - too much shoulder padding, Michelle Williams - one too many poofy layers, Meryl Streep - too much fabric.

Good to have Billy Crystal back as host - he is perfect for the job.  Never a bore, liked by everyone; his opening number is always a chuckle. He did not disappoint.  They could do away with the lame attempts at humour by some of the presenters.  They mostly fall flat, with the exception of Chris Rock who does not know how to be anything but funny.  But what is up with his hair?  Are afros back?  Did I not get that memo? 

The Cirque de Soleil performance was just simply WOW - what they are able to do with their bodies is extraordinary and as Billy Crystal so aptly put it, he "pulled a hamstring just watching!" 

Some of the winners so far, some artsy looking guy with long silvery/white hair won for cinematography and when he got up to give his speech, and the camera zoomed in, it surprised me that he did not actually have a face that matched the age of his hair, if that makes sense.  A good candidate for Grecian Formula if he wanted to look a decade younger at least. 

Octavia Spencer's win for The Help - no surprise there - well-deserved.  And, GO commonwealth countries - so far, Canadian,  Christopher Plummer in Beginners and just now, a Kiwi, Bret McKenzie for best original song for The Muppets Movie. 

Ok - time out - what is it about Angelina Jolie that annoys me so much?  Gee, could it be that she comes across as so insincere?, or was it just that stupid move she just made with her leg - as in- "look everyone - I have a high slit in my dress and I wanna make sure you all notice." Ugh! Gag me.  Brad could do so much better. And for Christ's sakes girl, eat a bloody carb! Your arms are positively skeletal, creepy really. You actually CAN be too thin - she did not get THAT memo!

Now we are getting to the part of the Oscars that I find the most tedious.  The last hour when I can barely keep my eyes open any longer.  But the hour where the most important awards are handed out.  Will I make it? Not if they keep doing the awards we don't care about.  Snore.

Now - the scrolling of everyone who died this year - still hanging in there....was Steve Jobs an actor?  Not in alphabetical order - they saved Liz Taylor for last for dramatic impact - it worked.

Now I start thinking about how early I have to get up and how much staying up this late will impact my day tomorrow. 

That's it folks - can't make it.....but George and Brad, head to head - really wanted to see that award.  Pushing through here. Here it comes. Best actor. Neither. The Frenchman - Jean Dujardin. I liked that film - The Artist.  He was great.  Brad and George can battle it out another year.

Now I am done. Nite. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........no wait  - best actress next - ok, five more minutes. This was a tough one - but Meryl, the queen, The Iron Lady - she was incredible Now I am crying. Either she was really speaking from the heart, or she is even better than we know.

Ok, Ok, one more award.  Best Picture.  And the oscar goes to.......

that silent film.....The Artist.  Thanks for making me see it Ems.  You were right.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meditations on Design

How did I end up in such a quandary?  A lifetime spent admiring and appreciating design.  Fashion design, interior design, graphic design. Visuals. Lines. Curves. Forms. Textures. Finishes. Colours. Patterns. Art. Crafts. Creativity.


Beauty enough to make you weep sometimes. Beauty you want to surround yourself with.  Create a cocoon of it around you.  An Hermes scarf about my neck. A Barcelona chair in the corner. A Scavolini kitchen to prepare my food in. A Maserati to transport me to work. A Chanel bag to hold my lipstick.  Do I need any of it? No, of course not. Is it even possible? Some of it - maybe. (I do have the Hermes Scarf) Does it mean anything in the end? Not at all.

Then why, oh why, do we enjoy it so much?  What drives the world to covet these things?  Have you ever studied the fine details of such things?  The perfect and precise stitching on a designer handbag, the luxurious silk lining, the soft and supple leather, the well thought out interior details for function and the quality of the clasps and handles or straps? There is no comparison to a mass-produced fake leather bag.  None whatsoever.  So, is it really the logo we want?  Maybe for some, but not for me.  I am not fussy about which designer logo is attached to it.  I am more concerned about the quality of the item - no matter what it may be. 

I am definitely not interested in the latest and greatest.  I would just as soon find a fabulous bag at a consignment shop despite the year it came out, as long as it was well maintained and in good condition and the real deal, not a knock-off.

I did the knock-off thing once in NYC.  Ventured down to Canal Street and slithered into a low-ceilinged basement with some Asian woman in flip flops and baggy pants.  It was an adventure to be sure.  Seedy.  Illegal.  Creepy.  I bought a knock-off Chanel bag, a Gucci bag and wallet and my bff bought 3 bags as well.  We made off with our green garbage bag full of loot and within a year, all of our bags had either broken straps or clasps and were toast.  I have a lovely Fendi bag I bought nearly 10 years ago that still looks and functions great.  Living proof that quality trumps every time. 

Anyone with a sense of style does not have to have the latest of any collection every season.  That is easily executed with accessories.  Add those to your quality basics and you are good to go. Good design does not have to be out of reach.  You just have to be savvy and know where to shop and snap it up when it presents itself.  That of course is doable with fashion, but what about the bigger ticket things?  The kitchen and the car?  That may take a little more work.  But when I figure it out, I'll let you know...or not.

But back to my quandary.  How does one relinquish the attachment to these things and still work in the design field? I read a quote the other day - it went something like this - "Freedom belongs to the rich and powerful, or the artist or monk who relinquishes all attachment to things."  If that is true, then most of the world is living in that middle ground. Does that mean that the majority are not free?  And does not being free mean they are unhappy? Is it so black and white?  Can freedom only be attained at either end of that spectrum? 

Does that mean the entire group in the middle are either trying to become rich and powerful or shedding their possessions and moving to an ashram in India? What to do? What to do?  The answer I think lies in living in the moment as much as possible.  Practice being grateful for the things you do have and don't kill yourself trying to attain that bag or that car or that kitchen.  Stay open to the possibility that anything can happen in your life and that whatever does happen, happens for a reason that you may or may not ever figure out.

You don't have to own a Picasso to enjoy one - just google it!  Or frame a poster. Go to a museum and sit and stare.  There are choices. There are ways.

One thing for sure - I won't lose a minute of sleep worrying about it.

Not one.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where were "you" in 1977?

When I ran my own business up until 3 years ago, I ended up on a gazillion mailing lists and a lot of it is still coming to me despite the fact that most of it is useless to me now.  I just toss most of it, but there is one that keeps coming that I continue to look at just because it is so inspired and beautiful to absorb. I don't know how I ended up on their list, but I regularly receive invitations to openings at this art gallery called Sundaram Tagore Gallery.  The invites are lovely to look at and are printed on heavy glossy card stock with stunning photos.

There are three of them, one in NYC, one in Beverly Hills and one in Hong Kong.  Even when I did run my own show, I never attended any of their openings although the thought of it always intrigued me.  They feature the most amazing artists and their spaces are all airy and open and I am sure their patrons are members of those city's upper crust, cultured and interesting, educated, well-heeled and pretentious crowd.  Mixed in with that group would be a scattering of genuinely unique and talented individuals that would attract me, make me want to engage in conversation with them.  They would provide me with some jolt of inspiration or motivate me to get in touch with my own creative yearnings.  I would leave the evening of wine and chatter renewed and ignited - I love it when that happens.

Recently I watched Midnight in Paris and anytime I read or watch anything related to that whole artistic movement back then, I long for such an experience myself.  The closest I ever came I suppose was when I was backpacking through Europe in 1977 and spent a day with George Whitman at Shakespeare and  Company in Paris.  I was a naive 19 yr old girl with not much more than a spirit of adventure and the desire to leave my small town life behind me and see the world.  George died a couple of months ago, his daughter now runs the shop, but I will never forget that day with him and the sign in his office - "To those who cherish freedom, practice equality and seek justice, Welcome!" 

Imagine the lessons I learned that year.  I started out in September and returned in December an entirely different gal.  It was the best education I could have had.  That afternoon with George was just one of dozens of life-altering experiences that took place that autumn.  So today, when I read something on an astrology blog that said for the next month we should try to reflect back to 1977, because something that happened that year was likely to repeat itself in the next few weeks. Since that trip was the highlight of that year for me, I can only imagine that whatever is about to manifest must have something to do with that same thirst for change and adventure perhaps.

I did something ballsy that year. I was fearless.  I had no real plan and not much money, but I acted totally on instinct and desire and went for it.  It was awesome. I figured it out as I went and just relished each new experience as it presented itself. I experienced wonder, joy, danger, fear, surprise, awe, growth and learned so much about myself and the world around me daily. More than the entire 18 years leading up to that adventure.

It was one of the best times of my life. Unforgettable. Life-changing.

Me at my very best.

So the question is - what could possibly mirror that? 2012 may start to get really interesting.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Try and Stop Me!

Have you ever noticed that "No U Turn" signs are always erected exactly where you want to make a U Turn?  I am not a big rule follower and as I get older, even less so.  I am OK with rules that are in place to protect children or keep people from real harm, but rules like "No U Turn" really annoy me.  If I am not going to screw up traffic, or get in anyone's way, I see no reason not to make a U Turn and guess what?  I do it all the time.  I look around to make sure I won't bug anyone and then I do a second check for a cop who might be parked in the nearby doughnut shop, and then I do it! I break the law. I turn my steering wheel into the turn with gusto and daring and I make the bloody U Turn.

In fact, today, I made 3 U Turns - yup - count em - 3.  I shaved a good 5 minutes off my driving time, did not interfere with the traffic patterns and I felt good doing it.  I think there is some underlying psychology here.  Some inner rebel yell looking for a safe outlet to escape. I have a "need" to break the rules and perhaps see this as a "safe" alternative.  Maybe. Maybe not.

It kind of goes hand in hand with my desire to have more fun these days.  Having been through a shitstorm this past year, the emotional drain of it all has left me craving some lightheartedness, some release from the heavy ongoing obstacles and responsibilities of my life.  I cranked up Cindy Lauper in the car the other day - Girls Just Want to Have Fun - when was the last time I really felt that carefree?  Too long ago - that's how long.

So maybe my U Turns today were symbolic of just that.  I am about to  make a U Turn maybe.  Break some rules. Let my hair down. Stop worrying.  Go with the flow.  Listen to my inner voice. Just be.

Just bloody be.

Monday, February 13, 2012

This one's for the Girls!

Everyone else should get in line!

Happy Valentine's Day to all my awesome gal pals!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here tonight and confess a couple of things about myself.  Don't get too excited, I am not going to share my sexual fantasies or anything, although that might garner a few more readers....or not.  No, I am going to talk about Valentine's Day.

  My name is Debra and I am a Valoholic.  I like pink. I like red. I like heart shapes. I like romance. I like flowers. I like chocolate. (I don't like stuffed animals with shirts that say "I Wuv you!") - I am not completely mad!), I like that there is a day set aside to honour love. I am a sappy romantic fool. I once spent an entire Valentine's Day making heart shaped chocolate shortbread cookies and letter shapes that spelled out I LOVE YOU DADDY as a Valentine's tribute to my ex-husband from my then 2 yr old daughter.  I laid them out on the dining room table so he could see it when he got home from work. 

In primary school, I loved the collection of Valentines from my classmates. I would spend the night before that day carefully selecting the best Valentine's from the box to give to the cutest boys. The boys I thought were icky got the one's I did not like so much.  The one's that said "Happy Valentine's Day", not ever "Be Mine" or "You have my heart". God knows I did not ever want to mislead that boy who picked his nose in class all day.  But at the same time, I never wanted to exclude anyone for fear of hurting someones feelings by not getting one at all. 

My daughter once told me a story of a boy in her grade 3 class who had the courage to give his crush a box of chocolates on V-Day and she tossed them on the playground cement and crushed them (and his heart) with the sole of her shoe.  This story, relayed to me the next day made my own heart break.  That poor boy - how devastated he must  have been. 

When I was in grade 2 myself, a boy who liked me came to my house after dinner on Valentine's Day and knocked on the front door and when I looked down from the second story window of my house and saw him standing on our front porch, I was horrified.  "Why was he here?"  I was painfully shy at 7 and when my father called me to come down;  I was frozen with fear and trepidation.  I could not come down the stairs.  He eventually left without being able to present me with his card and chocolates and to this day I hope he does not think I did not like him.  That was the problem.  I did.

I have long since gotten over that timidity, but I would still be touched if a boy came to my door with a card and chocolates and I would graciously accept his heartfelt offering even if I was not interested in him.  Any gift given from the heart deserves thanks from the recipient - it's simply good manners.

There are those of you who scoff at Valentine's Day, you know who you are.  A Hallmark Holiday you say, a day where you are made to feel obligated to spend money on over-priced flowers or meaningless gifts, but is a gift ever meaningless?  I suppose if you put no thought whatsoever into it, or your heart is not in it, or you feel you are jumping on a bandwagon with the herd, however, even a gift purchased and given under duress is better than no gift at all to a girl who grew up with cinnamon heart sweetened breath on February 14th for her entire childhood.

Very few of the significant men in my past have ever been very big on Valentine's Day, so I reluctantly accepted their view on it and swept it under the carpet.  But truth be known, I always wanted to be swept off my feet on that day, and I am quite sure I am not alone.  It is ingrained in our DNA from the get-go.  Sleepless in Seattle, the Elvis Costello version of My Funny Valentine, the more recent Teenage Dream by Katy Perry and the movie Valentine's Day - the never-ending barrage of sweet sappy sentiment in song and movies and poetry - is it so wrong?  Should we pretend we don't care, vainly trying to protect our fragile hearts? 

I say no.  Open your hearts ladies!  Tell your men you want to feel adored. You want them to lavish you with attention.  You want them to step up to the plate and hit that home run into your heart. Be vulnerable. Be you. Be a girl.

Open your heart wide and let someone in.  If they don't come in...their loss.

Is your figure less than greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak,
are you smart?

Don't change a hair for me,
not if you care for me,
Stay little Valentine, stay,
Each day is Valentine's Day

"My Funny Valentine"
Lorenz Hart

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. - Chinese Proverb

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dear Bono, I have been a very good girl this year.......

The mind boggling numbers have been hovering around in my head since I heard them.  He invested about 90 million a few short years ago in Facebook and now it is worth close to a billion! That's right folks - with the Facebook IPO, U2's illustrious leader will become the world's richest rock star, surpassing Paul McCartney and Sir Elton and god knows who else.

So, I have decided to go on the record here and officially ask Bono to lend me $100,000, interest free to be paid back in full if and when my first novel or screenplay (still debating here) becomes a huge hit.  That will be just about enough to allow me to take 2 years off work to complete my masterpiece.  Seriously - we are talking chump change here. 

Would it help if I told him that The Joshua Tree is in my top ten fave albums of all time?  Or, that when I hear some people criticize him, I defend him? Or, that I will gladly contribute a portion of my profits to whatever charity he likes or is supporting at the time? Is there anything I can say to convince him? 

He won't even notice it missing, I am sure.  And I would be grateful forever if he could please help me, one of his long time fans realize her lifelong dream.

Cause she "still hasn't found what she's looking for."

And she is pretty damn sure, living that dream would be it.