Rockport, MA

ROCKPORT – A scenic, coastal town in Northern Massachusetts with sailboats in the harbor, delicious lobster rolls, and many local arts and crafts. The town is a vibrant summer tourist destination. The streets become packed with families headed to the beach and couples looking for a romantic bed and breakfast escape.

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Fabulous Fashionistas

Wow!! It isn’t often that fashion celebrates or grants any attention to the style and dress of older women. This documentary is inspiring and a must watch! See article in full here

Jean

“I don’t give a damn of what people think of me or the way I dress, I dress for myself because I love style and design and color.”

This statement may sound like the devil-may-care attitude of a stylish twenty-something, but this sentiment actually comes from the mouth of Bridget, a seventy-five year old Brit, one of six older women featured in the TV documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, which recently aired on Britain’s UK Channel 4.

Bridget

As the title suggests, each of these six women is excited about her wardrobe (some shop at charity stores; others order from catalogues; others buy from fancy boutiques), and throughout the film, each woman explains the evolution of their personal style. Some of their choices are distinctly their own, yet each of them says they are past the point of caring what others think—instead, they dress for themselves and their own tastes. “Style, as one gets older, is more noticeable,” Bridget says. “How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It’s nothing to do with looking younger.” The fifty-minute documentary moves beyond the wardrobe, and is ultimately a heartwarming account of women, ranging in age from 73 to 91, who are still active, engaged, and excited about life.

Gillian

Director Sue Bourne pulls truthful, raw insight and paints inspiring pictures of each of the six women. Bridget, 75, spends her time fighting tirelessly against ageism. Daphne, 85, is signed with a modeling agency and is Britain’s go-to older model. Jean, 75, works in a high end clothing boutique and runs three times a week. Gillian, 87, is a professional choreographer for productions such as CATS and Phantom of the Opera on the West End, and she still works countless hours a week. Sue, 73, is an American transplant who made a name writing low-fat cookbooks, but she now focuses on creating art. Lady Trumpington, 91, is the oldest woman in Britain’s House of Lords. All six women have aged gracefully, without Botox or plastic surgery, and all embrace their lives with enthusiasm and wisdom.

Daphne

Many of the women are widowed, and though the aches and pains of old age are ever present, none of the six embrace the stereotype of the little old lady. Instead, by the end of the documentary, you see that these inspiring women take life one day at a time, and they choose things that make them feel happy and fulfilled. The concept of death is addressed, yes, but none of these women are frightened by the thought. As one of the women says in a particularly poignant moment: “Yes, you think about death. But you choose life.”

The Fabulous Fashionistas: 

(from left) Sue, Daphne, Lady Trumpington, Jean, Gillian, & Bridget

Watch the entire inspiring documentary below:

Thanks to UK Channel 4

Images courtesy of The Guardian

Firenze, Italia

July 24-25, 2012

Filled with delicious Chianti from the Castle Verrazzano, we made our way to the Hotel Albani in Florence. Arriving in the evening, drunk on wine and sleepy on food, we contented ourselves with a brief walk to the basilica and a stop for some delicious cappuccino.

We began the next day with a walking tour with local guide Andrea. Not hiding his contempt for tourists and modern art, he guided us through crowds of people to the Academy of Fine Arts where the David is displayed in all its glory. Using all the technical  language of an art historian and art lover, he described in great detail the emotions and technique of Michelangelo as he carved the multiple unfinished works called the Slaves, forever enslaved within their block of white marble. Michelangelo specially picked out each piece of marble he worked with and believed that the sculpture was trapped within the block and he was merely God’s hand removing the excess marble from the figure.

The David swept away all breath and thought. Standing below the 17ft statue of the naked biblical David, portrayed not as a shepherd boy but as a strong young man with his sling over his shoulder, he imposed a sense of ancient glory and embodied strength and perfection. The David was initially designed to be in the niche of a church; therefore the sculpture has larger than normal head, hands and feet. It is an optical illusion to make the statue appear balanced when placed in its intended location, the niche.

File:David von Michelangelo.jpg

The David – Wikipedia

Andrea then took us to the Piazza del Duomo to view Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Gate of Paradise.

Beautiful carved doors of the side entrance to the Duomo

Front facade of duomo

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Santa_Maria_del_Fiore.jpg

Duomo – Wikipedia

Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti – The gates are the North doors to the Baptistry. The original work has been removed and stored for preservation and what you see today is a mere cast of the original work. The 10 panels of the doors depict the Story of Joseph.

Firenze’s coat of arms, the Florentine Lily

We then walked through the narrow streets of leather shops and cafes to the Piazza della Signoria.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio – This is a replica of the David done by hand, not cast.

Loggia dei Lanzi

Loggia dei Lanzi – Rape of The Sabine Women by Giambologna (Correct translation is actually the Abduction of The Sabine Women and Giambologna did not name his work, but someone else did after he died)

Loggia Dei Lanzi – Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Piazza della Signoria – The Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati

Piazza della Signoria – The Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati

Piazza della Signoria – The “bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo I” by Giambologna

After our walking tour with Andrea, we headed through the streets to Misuri for a demonstration in leather treating, making and design and a display of local gold. The jewelry shop brought out a beautiful display of pieces, gold with brightly colored stones, twisted and braided chains of gold, rings, a necklace made with an ancient Caesar coin, and more. I was most impressed with the diamond cut gold. It sparkled like diamonds and they designed necklaces and bracelets using yellow, white, rose and even black gold. Stunning!

The leather was incredible! Silky soft and of spectacular quality. The sales associate brought out a few seasonal pieces and selected some of our tour to model, myself among them. We had an opportunity to wrap ourselves in the gorgeous pieces and strut around while others massaged the leather and admired the fit.

While I fell in love with a beautiful brown leather jacket, the store did not have my size, even though they offered me a custom made jacket for the same price. Instead I opted for a purse I loved just as much.

Gorgeous leather bag, gold details hand stamped with 24 carat gold, inside done in red leather, and my initials stamped in 24 carat gold

Lunch – Vegetable soup and Tuscan bread. I was a bit disappointed with the bread in Italy. I expected bread similar to french bread, but we were mainly served Tuscan bread which is baked without salt and lacks any and all flavor. It was also served cold and sometimes tasted almost stale.

We ate a quick lunch at a local cafe before meeting up with Andrea again for a personal tour of the Uffizi Gallery. Sadly no photos could be taken inside, but Andrea walked us through the corridors to the most famous works of Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Raphael and others. My art history lessons came rushing back to me as I recognized the paintings studied years ago. Andrea weaved a beautiful tale for each painting and sculpture, explaining the symbolism, the people in the paintings, and the premise.

File:Sandro Botticelli - La nascita di Venere - Google Art Project.jpg

Wikipedia – Birth of Venus by Botticelli – Seeing this painting in real life and up close was surreal. This had always been a favorite of mine. The colors appeared softer and more muted than I anticipated, giving the painting a smooth and demure look.

File:Tizian 102.jpg

Wikipedia – The Venus of Urbino by Titian – I seem to prefer the paintings involving naked women… This painting was commissioned as a wedding present for a young bride of 13. It is supposed to represent how a bride/wife should look, calm and sensual. The little dog on the bed is a symbol of fidelity.

After the gallery we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and prepare for a Tuscan dinner out in the countryside.

We drove about 30 minutes outside of Firenze to a small villa and winery to enjoy a delicious meal of local specialties. The meal began with a buffet appetizer including grilled vegetables, meats and cheeses. I loaded my plate with a little bit of everything, enjoying some eggplant and mozzarella the most. We continued with two pasta dishes and then a selection of grilled meats. One of which I’m pretty sure was wild boar, but I never confirmed with anyone. Regardless, it was delicious.

The highlight of the meal was brought out before the food. As we walked onto the property we were greeted by the owner, Saraceni, who gave a welcoming speech as glasses of blue wine were being handed out. Yes, blue wine! A delicious bubbly wine, light and crisp with a hint of sweet fruit. It was the star of the evening. You can order it through the link provided here.

Drunk on way too much red, white and blue wine, delicious food, and charming people, we headed back into Firenze. I tagged along with a few people from our tour to wander the streets of Firenze to find the house the Jersey Shore cast stayed at. As our leader was a human map, we found it without too much trouble, stopping at a bar for some wine along the way and some strawberry daiquiris after the fact.

Duff beer does exist!

On The Wild Side

The following in its entirety is courtesy of Etsy and can be found in full here.

Get the Look Decor: Welcome to the Jungalow

Published on July 08, 2012 in Shop

Photo by Justina Blakeney

Iheartmoustaches

This weekend’s Get the Look Decor is inspired by Justina Blakeney’s gorgeous and unique LA home. She lives just south of Echo Park with her husband, Jason, their cat, Luda, and in just a few short weeks, a brand new baby girl lovingly referred to as “Boomba.” Nicknamed the Jungalow, Justina’s home combines tropical and bohemian styles, incorporating bold patterns, vivid colors, vintage treasures and lots of houseplants.

Check out Justina’s blog for even more incredible decorating ideas and to take the full Jungalow tour.

What is your favorite part about your home?
My favorite part about my home is that it grows with me and my family. It reflects all of our travels, our creative projects, our love for greenery and my fearless relationship with pattern and color. I love the afternoon light in my home. I love my yard. I love how funky and old it is.

   
   
   

[Clockwise from top left: Fairy Bed Canopy Crown by SoZoeyBoutique; Vintage Wedding Suzani by SilkWay; Wind Chime or Bell by ironaworks; Designer Pillow Cover by 3BModLiving; vintage Moroccan Slippers by capricorne; Four Birds Dressed in Red by edsplaceonetsy; The Canopy Lounge in Orange by CANOPYstudio; Large Framed Vintage Painting by MolecularModern; Vintage Wood Window Frame by BridgewoodPlace.]

Did you decide to decorate in this style or was there an evolution to your decorating process?
I think that my decor decisions are more visceral, so I guess an evolution would be more accurate. The more spaces I decorate, the more I realize my decorating habits, the types of things that I tend to incorporate. For example, it became clear after decorating several homes that I love to inundate spaces with plants. Once I recognized that about myself, it became part of my “thing,” and now I make more conscious decisions to add plants into spaces. Same goes for worldly textiles like Handira, Suzani, Kilim and Otomi, and same goes for mid-century lines and upcycled details.

   
   

[Clockwise from top left: Vintage 1973 Macrame Lamp by mrbarnes5; Ikat Pillow Cover by islimi; Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table by AtlasWoodCo; Grapewood and Air Plant Centerpiece by TheLivingArt; VIntage Kilim Rug by NoonGallery; Hanging Air Plant Pod Trio by mudpuppy.]

What inspires you when it comes to decorating?
I have a great group of friends that inspire me — my sister Faith, who is an interior designer, and my friend Dabito are two people who come immediately to mind. I am also very much inspired by travel — even local travel, like a trip to the beach or an art gallery downtown. I also find it inspiring to see odd pairings — things that normally one wouldn’t put together — which somehow work. And lastly, I am a huge fan of creative reuse. I love to see items in new contexts.  I love to be surprised and delighted in design, turning form and function on its head and seeing where it takes us.

   
   

[Clockwise from top left: Hanging Wooden Wine Rack by AspenBottleHolders; Handwoven rag rug by Gunaspalete; Mosaic Steer Skull made with Handcut Glass Tiles by Jiveworks; Reclaimed Wood and Solid Steel Dining Table by dylangrey; African Inspired Art Quilt Wall Hanging by QuirkyQuilts; Fabric Spider Plant by sian.]

Where are your favorite places to shop for home items?
I love to shop while traveling, from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to the Souk in Marrakech, but when I’m local, I go religiously to the Rose Bowl Flea market. I also frequent random thrift shops — there are a lot in my neighborhood, along Sunset Boulevard. I also like a lot of boutique-type shops. A few that come to mind are Dekor, Rolling Green, Lawson Fenning, Inheritance, Amsterdam Modern…there are many. Online, I scour Craigslist, eBay and Etsy — daily.

   
   
   

[Clockwise from top left: Set of Two Turquoise Pillows by studiotullia; Custom Made to Fit Bay Window Seat Storage Bench by Ablesaw; Vintage Fishing Float by lightinawormhole; Topform Rosewood Modular Shelving System by AardewerkenZo; Green Diagonal Brick Planter by OpenSystem; Antique Mill Textile Wood Spools by thelostrooms; Glass Terrarium by JechoryGlassDesigns; Floor Cushion in Grey by madebyzigzag; Haldensleben Fat Lava Striped Vase by GoGoBerlinette.]

Does your home hold any strong memories?
I’ve lived here for a little over a year, but seeing as how this is the place where we’re creating a family, I’m sure this home will go down in the books for us. Also, we have a couple of possum friends who aren’t shy about visiting us through the cat door and eating all of Luda’s food. I don’t expect I’ll be forgetting that anytime soon.

   
   

[Clockwise from top left: Spotted Owl Custom Baby Bedding by birdshaveflowers; Modern Animal Bamboo Wall Clock by decoylab; Vintage Wide White Flowery Lace Panel by ghoghooghora; Silk Suzani Pillow Cover by sukan; Vintage Paint By Number Flamingo by cybersenora; Vintage Pink Dresser by suezcues.]

Working From Home

Today I had the luxury of working from home. Normally not something I am a fan of as it usually involves putting in a bunch of extra hours Saturdays and Sundays, but today was delightful.

I awoke early to the sun streaming through my window and the curtains billowing, filled with a warm breeze. Breakfast was simple – a plate of perfectly sweet, ripened strawberries and a tall glass of chilled nettle tea.

Work was pleasant. With the sun shining and gorgeous 80 degree weather, I took advantage and brought my laptop and work materials out on the porch. Something about the sunshine, the bamboo jungle surrounding me and the relaxing atmosphere of the dogs sunning themselves created an unbelievably productive environment.

Finishing most of my tasks quite early, I took an early lunch break and created this little bit of artwork out of old chalk I found from when I was a wee little tot:

While I am no artist (though quite proud of the butterfly on the right), I rarely have an opportunity to express artistic creativity. Even something as simple and chalk on the sidewalk allows for this beautiful expression of the right brain.

Today will conclude with a bright colored salad and a 3 mile run and some weight training. Have a great night!