Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Most Wonderful Hand Knit Throw Blanket Ever: Cricket Creations

My roommate Angelo (Angelo DiBiase, who did Ellen Barkin in Sea of Love, drove up one Sunday afternoon to "create" the style for Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct - haircut and a few polaroids - and billed the studio a cool $3,000.00. Jonathan Antin credited Angelo for starting the 300.00 everyday haircut.) had flown his mother and step-dad out to stay with us for a few weeks.

Angelo's mother stirred absurdly large pots of pasta and we waited impatiently for her marina sauce while her husband, Carmen Basilio, helped her. Angelo shook his head and drawled his slow "yes, darling - come on over" to clients and friends that were dying to talk boxing. And Thursday nights we declared Knitting Night: his mother teaching and feeding us while we watched LA Law. Helena (Jack Nicholson's Helena: she'd just closed her crazy-hot club in a sketchy part of Los Angeles) sauteed slivers of garlic to toss in an angel hair pasta with a touch of olive oil and shredded basil.  Gabriel Byrne and George Malkemus stopped by to eat and knit while Ryan and Farrah sat with Carmen.

I've forgotten how to knit but those days left me with a great appreciation for yarn and the artistry that some can bring to the craft.  I don't remember how I came across Crickets Creations; Celeste understands yarn and its possibilities. The lacy blanket and the extravagant fringe arrived last week, all white with a touch of shimmer in the fringe. She sent photos showing the process of selecting the yarns that she uses; selecting textures that are all light and airy. Her work is custom and can help choose the colors with you. I sent her pictures of my white Starck daybed which is washed in light throughout the day. She understood the mood - sort of a Scandinavian light woods and white - and sent the photo of the yarn she proposed, which I totally loved. Soft and cozy ... and beautiful.

Just about time to send in orders for the holiday. And the things she does for babies are amazing too.

Celeste (Crickets)
Crickets Creations: Fringie™ Photo Portrait Props & Fashion Scarves 
Read about my new home accessory interior design blankets on my blog

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rhubard Raspberry, Cherry Blackberry, Strawberry Black Peppercorn and Peach Rosemary: One Kings Road Could Be Heaven

Rhubarb Raspberry Thyme: A subtle rhubarb tang and a wholesome raspberry sweetness blend with an herbaceous thyme surprise to make a versatile and intriguing low-sugar conserve. Slather it on a croissant, stir into yogurt, serve alongside a lamb chop, foie gras or ice cream—being adventurous will only bring gastronomic pleasure.
Peach Rosemary: Experience the unexpected pairing of a tincture of rosemary with the refreshing wash of sweet summer peaches. Perfect with savory brunch fare, as a yogurt stir-in, on your midnight turkey sandwich, alongside roast pork or biscuits, as well as with goat cheese on bruschetta or atop mahi mahi. A panorama of possibilities!
Strawberry Black Peppercorn: Whether at your breakfast table or as a delightful accompaniment to savory evening dishes, this lively pairing of succulent strawberries and the brilliant pop of ground peppercorn works with everything. Lay it down next to an assortment of hard and soft cheeses or make a mouthwatering statement with your next steak.
Cherry Blackberry Sage & Clove: While lusciously sweet blackberries temper tart cherries, a delicate mingling of sage and clove amidst the fruit creates a festive, multi-layered conserve. A perfect complement to roast beef, lamb, or goose, as well as on popovers, muffins, or a fine triple-crème Brie. May we suggest a sweet supper at sunrise?

Totally just lifted this from their website. Too delicious to ignore and so special that my first sweet and generous thought after I immediately ordered this was to share it. Thinking of savory pancakes and brie with a taste of this, maybe a little smoked chicken on rosemary olive oil bread with butter lettuce and this and then a topping of one of these insanely divine flavors on a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream.

Join the site and get amazing emails every day. and link here for these ... 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Hate Fakes I Hate Fakes I Hate Fakes

Marie Kettering

Sells replica hermes handbags and replica hermes wallets on the internet. You can get fake hermes replica handbags and other famous brands like gucci handbags.

What to do when you run across, in places that are not supposed to support shady FAKE and/or REPLICA Hermes wallets? 

In this instance, I blocked and reported spam on twitter. Of course this is a all about the money and if Twitter removes this one, there'll be little leeches springing up. A languid action when I was dying to find a button, not there, that exploded the site and sent the evil-doers off to do community service somewhere for years. I have a disturbing (and true) image of women and children, probably some hapless men too) working way too many hours in overheated factories for not enough money to live comfortably. Whilst Hermes and others have programs   to preserve the craft of fine work. It's evil. Period ...

Finally it's up to Hermes/Chanel/Balenciaga/etc to guard the brand. 

Christian Louboutin doesn't just make edgy sexy shoes with red soles. He's the Lone Ranger setting up a pretty serious site to expose FAKES. Frightening to see how many sites are sending out FAKES. It's a must visit and the enormity of this is grim. Link here ...

I'd love a genuine Hermes wallet at the moment, frustrated with the relative flimsiness of wallets I replace every year or so (faded, stitching issues). Not a FAKE, no. Stuck with a FAKE Chanel Baby Cabas bag which I can never take to Italy because it would be confiscated and there's that pesky 5,000.00 fine.

Not that I'm judgmental. But I really would like that red button to take them down.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Charles Anastase: The Most Beautiful Dresses In The World

It's entirely possible that these are the most beautiful dresses in the world. Charles Anastase ... and I have had a thing for plenty of Charles' in my life ... did these. Rae Kawakubo is walking somewhere wearing his dresses and that is exactly what I want to do. On sale too ... oh what to do. Here at's amazing other site, just window shopping the Sale and sighing, reaching for a silk fan that is not there (and wondering how expensive clothes can get, prices are flying like a jet plane),wishing as hard as I ever have ... the other site is The Corner linked here (hurry, really breathtaking fashion on page after page).

Charles Anastase, I think I love you. His site is linked here. In which the most beautiful dresses in the world become the new black, or something like that.

Having finally seen Social Network last night with gorgeous blogger Julianne Rhodes who writes the  Jewels From The Roving Stove blog, my mad crush for everything internet extended to Federico Marchetti who put most of the world's fashion designers on the internet in some way for his company as well as His story is here.

I am sure that if I owned just these two dresses, I could walk with Rae anywhere considering the things she does. Happily too.

A Conversation With Judith Miller About Costume Jewelry

I had the opportunity to send Judith Miller a few questions about her newest book Costume Jewelry. Do look through her books and guides ... this is like having a best friend who knows everything. Very cool. Ms. Miller answered in red ...
This is a delicious book, yummy with information and illustrations and a sort of where in the price race the designer currently is. I was really fascinated because I sold several of the designers she's written about. Herve Van Der Straetten amazed ... his pieces were grabbed, literally, by the more intellectual ladies who wore the savage black of Japanese designers, highly intellectualized and deconstructed. Robert Lee Morris, way back to the Artwear days, whom she correctly said was more about art than fashion (he sold Ted Muehling and Cara Croninger in his shop on West Broadway). Having sold a bit of Butler & Wilson in the mid-80's, it was wonderful having them anchor Sunset Plaza with a memorable boutique (I had the other end). I carried gobs and gobs of Eric Beamon (there really was an Eric, a very talented man) before it was Erickson Beamon. I've sold it new and fresh, as accessories to fashion, with an appreciation for refinement and fantasy, not thinking collectible: at the end of the season it was a markdown. But I do have a Chinese wedding basket where I keep almost everything I ever fell in love with because accessories should be forever.

The pieces, as they should be of course, are all pristine and that is part of the allure and the spendy part of it all. I'd imagine there are people that love the romance of a particular period/designer and look for something personal that speaks to them and then again there are thousands (literally) of items on eBay, in dank cabinets at antique shows of varying quality and price.
And you can still find some absolute bargains everywhere – from charity stores, to estate sales, to job lots at auction ...but also on eBay I have just bought a beautiful pair of unsigned multi-faceted earrings in glorious shades of blue for $9.00
To be sure beauty and want would matter tremendously but plunking down 500. and up for a piece from a previous season - there's clues in the book but is there failsafe advice on how to buy and what to do if there is a patina issue or one itsy missing stone or a loose screw? Is the price sliced or ???
Condition is of course paramount and missing stones can make a piece unsaleable. However I have bought job lots of costume jewelry at auction and have many stones that I can set in pieces.
Special shops with "estate or vintage" pieces, such as the hand picked selection at Barneys and Bergdorfs, a few very fine boutiques, carry pieces that while exquisite are at least at the top of the price range. For the piece you can't live without it seems that would be the best way to find a well-edited, valuable piece that probably oozes half its value on the way to the door?
It is amazing what you can pick up. I went with a friend to a really sweet little store in Galveston Texas a couple of years ago and boght really good Haskell, Joseff and Hagler for very reasonable prices and some very good unsigned pieces too.
Interested in your thoughts on Coco Chanel in 1924 making a chic set of faux pearl earrings (one black, one white - so chic) and setting the tone for costume jewelry as chic as the relatively inexpensive jersey she cut for refined elegant simple chic) vs the American commercial (?) use of plastic (is that bakelite). Was that a sort of middle of the road commercial implosion to make things pretty, seemingly coincident with womens rights (so to speak, not many) and red lipstick with all that sexuality and freedom it implied? Or was the plastic tres chic and expensive albeit mass produced?
I think the joy of costume jewelry is that it was all things to all women. Chic, trashy, in your face, outrageous, humorous......The time was right for girls to have fun and copy their favourite film star or take the little black dress and add that little ‘je ne sais quoi’...
And of course, the pieces used in the book are incredible examples, exquisite and perfect, no dings or shadows. Could Ms. Miller speak about the selection of designer and pieces and how she came across these pieces.
The designer selection is really like my top favourites. Many of the pieces are mine or belong to friends. We also photographed the whole stock of friends Yai and Steven at Cristobal here in London and friends at Also two friendly dealers in Philly and New York.
Is there a best way to preserve the beauty of these at home - what to do when we let the last clasp go?
Pin to cushions, decorate mirrors
Not important but terribly curious on the exclusion of Tim Binns, another mad designer whose exquisite edgey work is grabbed at by fashion people and accessory lovers (I'm half mad about his work.)
Unfortunately some designers do get left out. I tried to get some Alice in Wonderland pieces but couldn’t in time.
Importantly and because it's become sadly rampant in fashion and handbags, what about mirror copies and fakes of good quality? Is there protection or proof?
No protection – just handle as much of the real stuff.
So many idiosyncratic people made statements in jewelry. I remember a just away from being a Playboy bunny Elsa Perretti at Halston adjusting a leather strap on one of her first sterling seeminly rolled by her dainty fingers belt buckle, all organic shape. Tina Chow, my friend, and her crystals she worked in Japan. Berry Berenson making beads and sewing pillows. People are drawn to jewelry .. making it and buying it. Almost a genetic requirement? Any thoughts on this?
I think you are right. ..from staring into my mum’s jewelry box in the late 1950’s, to finding vintage ‘stuff’ in Edinburgh as a student in the late 1960’s jewelry is very individual.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Judith Miller's 101st Book: Costume Jewelry

Judith Miller's delicious and newest book, Costume Jewelry, is actually her 101st book, I think. She's the co-founder of The Antiques Price Guide and Miller's Collectible Price Guide, she's a specialist on the BBC's The Antiques Roadshow and a visit to her website is like dropping in at your dear friend's houses to have a cup of tea and show the little trinkets you just happened to find at a tag sale. 

Costume Jewelry is segmented by Major Designers (Chanel, yes), Classic Designers (Givenchy, LaCroix, Lagerfeld, Lanvin, YSL ... ), Future Designers (Erickson Beamon and the photos made my toes wiggle with pleasure), a list of dealers (websites too, marks, glossary ... the works). Logical and precise, it's how you can swoop into the perfect piece at a lawn sale, at one of those musty antique shows or even into your own jewelry chest. 

There's code - a letter grade - to indicate a price range. Voila ... how to troll eBay (careful, really really careful: that is an amazing place when you absolutely can trust the seller).

1924 and Coco Chanel showed simple faux earrings: one black pearl and one white. Simple, chic and that was The Moment. 

In this case the dictionary needs a quick update ...

costume jewelrynounjewelry made with inexpensive materials or imitation gems.

The Pearl by Guy de Maupassant is online here ... the great ending: 
    "Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! . .  

Judith Miller's Costume Jewelry is at Amazon.

Louis Vuitton, Strange Houses, Mr.Murakami, Revok & IT Bags

Actually Louis Vuitton houses should not exist. It's a serious company that frowns, most of the time, at random expressions of art and photoshop, although it did recently allow the (why why why) destruction of some fashion and bags for a group of fashion students in New York to experiment with for a class in fashion design.  LV was livid over a Japanese installation using LV-like material to create little imaginary animals; a benign and loving tribute I'd thought.

Marc Jacobs roused the Snorlax of spendy luggage, bringing in the street cool of Stephen Sprouse with that amazing graffiti slashed on tranquil bags following up with Takashi Murakami blowing out of stores with painted cherries and flowers; top of the eBay fake pile, a nasty place to wade through.

 In the middle of MOCA Los Angeles, the LV/Murakami shop was busier than a Starbucks on Madison Avenue at 8:55am. I stood in line for an hour while Shepard Fairey DJ'd and the cutest boys and girls served drinks, thinking it was art loving holding everything back. It was shopping time in the middle of the museum in a suddenly there LV boutique! My clever girlfriend bought a bag when she spied Mr. Murakami in the doorway and decided to smile her way through the milieu to ask for his very nice autograph for the newly bought IT bag (very few men would say no to her); he said yes and did a spiffy little sketch of her in her new bag and signed it. Commerce, indeed.

 Mr. Murakami stepped up to buy the billboard near the museum, loving the graffiti dancing (billboard buffing by Revok) on it. The art of the bag, the street and LV all at once.

It was a couple of years ago and it seems sweet (it was). I think Mr. Murakami paid 30,000. for the billboard ...  a fair price. Lots of money all around that event. The commerce of IT bags. Which now require true country of original labels ...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Abracadabera: Deedee Cheriel at Merry Karnowsky Gallery

Ms. Cheriel's work is even more beautiful than her oh-so-lovely name. Here is the language she knows to describe her "satirical and playful" work: Meditations on the "tedious drama" of her real-life Los Angeles social circle where "boyfriend stealing friends, narcissistic hippies, do-gooders and intellectuals" are caught anthropomorphizing into the surreal world of random theater.

Ms. Cheriel's magic is wholly hers, the word Abracadabera stirring childish memories: myth, elemental and maybe a bit rock'n'roll.  Oh and there is a literal defining of Abracadabera, if you will (I hesitate because there is power and strength in grabbing a word like that): That word was originally used by a Roman physician in the Second Century who prescribed disease sufferers to wear an amulet (Wendy? Wendy Brandes?) containing the word Abracadabera in the form of a triangle. Power ... yes.

Alchemy, art, magic; Shepard Fairey said of her work, "...Deedee's work is idiosyncratic in the most ideal way .. it is a reflection of her unique personality."

Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California. October 9 - November 6. (link here.)

Deedee Cheriel prints are available at Poster Child Prints (link here.)

The Ever So Secret Banksy Storyboard Open for ... The Simpsons, Tonight

"In what has to be one of the most closely guarded secrets in TV history, the "couch gag" opening of tonight's episode of The Simpsons was storyboarded and directed by none other than Banksy. It's the first time an artist has been invited to storyboard part of the show and when you see it, you'll be shocked that it made it past the network executives.

Amazing, quite dark, and incredibly complex.

More soon..."

I love Banksy. That's why ...

Muses, Music, Models: White Stipe, Sofia Coppola, KateMoss ... In No Particular Order

Disquieting muses fascinate. The poetry of Sylvia Plath is restless and inclusive ... beautifully drawn, myth and fairy tale: her Disquieting Muses is linked here. Jack Grapes leads a workshop in Los Angeles on writing with the voices of the muses, the archetypes: The Child, The Virgin, The Mother, The Seductress, The Crone, The Huntress, The Medusa.

And then there is Kate Moss. Simply, another archetype. Just discovered this piece from White Stipe directed by Sofia Coppola and can't stop looking at it, hopelessly fascinated. Muse, model, music, magic, mayhem.

This is how Jack describes the process ... "the language, the prosody of the sentences, the energy and use of tone and language might indicate you were writing from some specific archetype ..." 

Fragments of imagination and something projected on the muse that is simply more desirable while so untouchable. 

Amazon has 11,046 results for Muses in Books.

I wish there were a course in how to be a Muse.

Bullying. Get In Front Of It, STOP It: Dude What Would Happen Shows What It Feels Like.

The curly haired boy is Jackson and he did not like doing the bully boy. If you've never been bullied or stared down or intimidated, you are truly blessed. This is exactly what it's like and some people carry on with the bullying and intimidation with no limits. It's unendurable. It's a conversation everyone needs to have and if your kid/brother/husband/lover/boss is the bully, you need a lot of support and you may need to simply exit a situation that has stopped being rational. End it. Simply end it. There's scads of urgent and important information at Cartoon Network, a seriously good place for kids to visit and find some assurance.

I grew up in a part of East Hollywood that really didn't matter, abandoned cars on front lawns, a dreadful peeling paint kind of neighborhood mixed with street kids, traffic, and moms yelling for their kids to come in for supper. Some amalgamation between Catholic school girl, ballet practice that began at age three and The Street left me with a certain amount of I'm Simply Not Going To Take It. Yes, there was the Mean Boy who spent a semester carefully not getting caught tapping on the back of my desk for an entire class period; telling seemed out of the question and he was really too large for me to deck (I know, I know). It was a semester of misery and really my solution - take it, ignore it, he'll stop - was SO INCREDIBLY WRONG. I should have brought the adults (teachers, counselors, vice principles of something besides the length of my skirts) in to separate us, look him over and watch him. I was so wrong. A semester of small irritants (I know how mild this actually was) and I was free.

It's all so mixed up, isn't it. Kids are brought up to be respectful and so shouting for help, admitting they need help and actually asking for it is embarrassing. I don't particularly agree with it, but that's a personal choice. I'd rather oceans of kids yell back and announce they won't keep it all a secret.

That's my kid pounding, stepping in and belittling. He really hated it. Don't allow your kid, don't deny that the bully could be your kid, to do this. Break it. Get help and talk talk talk. Waves are kind of cool.

Beauty and My Mad New Crush On Frederick Fekkai (and would you look at the pretty girl hair!)

Frederick Fekkai backstage at the Spring '11 shows: Because Mr. Fekkai and his parent company P&G, that great big seemingly dull conglomerate that manufactures staples seamlessly, did a nice quiet lab analysis of the wildly successful Brazilian Blowout and revealed that its claims to be essentially formaldehyde-free were false, I'm ever so much more interested in what he has to say about hair, beauty and product.

Sentient? His hair is pretty girl in real life, natural and really the antithesis of the flat, straight Aerin Lauder It Girl in New York that is purely editorial and requires, for many - not all, of course, deep intervention and maintenance.

Pretty girls and pretty hair. And that is why I have a new, mad crush on the very handsome Mr. Fekkai.

The Brazilian Blowout Situation and A Quick Look At Moroccan Oil

WWD The Beauty Report report on the Brazilian Blowout situation was thorough.

The original lab report is linked here. I've had it done several times ... like many other things, the first was the best. I did pony up (not very happily) for the shampoo and conditioner; a gift with the first treatment but a fat 30.00 each after that. Substituting L'Oreal Everpure (no sulfates) shampoo and conditioner at (recession blush) 7.99 was not the same. The price of the treatment in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills had fallen from the first rush at 350.00 to 500.00 down to 150.00. My last treatment in July barely lasted three weeks.

Silky hair dreams while living at the beach are simply too optimistic. Moroccan Oil was the new subtext, credited for soft waves without that old school silicone slick. Amazon (I love Amazon Prime - two day free delivery of everything, no sales tax, easy enroll into 15% discounts for automatic shipments that you can skip when you want) shipped it to me today actually. Two small squirts on end of the day balmy beach weather hair and my hair is soft with a wee wave. Beach, grunge, natural (well, not really natural, no) and it really, really doesn't have that John Frieda slick and limp teflon feel.

I should stop here but out of curiosity, because there are a LOT of ingredients besides Moroccan Oil, I googled the ingredients. A complex work because my eyes roll in the vicinity of chemical breakdowns and schematics. Just imagining a scientific team in a very white room with stainless and glass bottles and thingies as they assemble a montage of ingredients, in some ways it must be formulaic. Cetyl alcohol is a big thing in products, much as butter is required for chocolate chip cookies. Would these products that work well do it without the particular mix? OK, I confess ... I do have a doctor who whispered olive oil to me, another safflower oil - to quickly dab on after the shower while still a bit damp. Egg yolks and avocado mash were distinctly hard to wash out of my hair and spending four days with olive oil saturating my hair while at the Ashram in Calabasas was a sticky mess; although at a certain point I might have licked a dab to quell my hunger. A papaya and and a plate of mushrooms served with orange juice while attacking veritable mountains was not enough and the loss of coffee ached more than my calves.

Water. Cetyl Alcohol (it's unavoidable, I think). Dehyquart A. Dimethicone. Cyclomethicone. Argon Oil. DMDM Hydantoin. CitricAcid.  Parfum. CI 47000, CI 26100. These are (bold) links to the documents. 

I suppose one could say (is much more proof necessary, not sure: the lab report and Procter & Gamble's independent report seem to confirm that the claims of just about formaldehyde-free were blatant lies along the lines of there's no proof cigarettes are bad for you) they'd take the risk but ninety minutes in a salon every three months or so is very different than a stylist working five or six days a week giving these treatments.

Here it is because it's confusing and we believed. Interesting that P&G, that great big corporate parent, didn't.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pink Ribbons Are Sweet : But We Love Breasts

October is Breast Awareness Month.

Oh please. This cannot be about a Month and Pink Ribbons, not about those generous companies who donate a portion of sales to the various breast associations, not even about Walking For A Cure.

The amazingly wonderful and brilliant, fiery-haired, hip-swiveling Samantha Dunn (ok, she was my teacher at some fierce UCLA writing workshops and I will always suck up a little) wrote this piece which is a MUST read: link here. Very personal actually. I was in class waiting for her (why is our teacher late, don't we matter) and watched her wipe a tear away, straighten those dancing shoulders and say something about confluence and pauses. Little did we know that she had been told she had a bad disease and here's the thing - NO SHE DIDN'T.  The point of this is that she is engaged as a writer and personally understands the language of fear and tests. You must become your advocate, and that is a colossal pain in the neck when you may be worried and not feeling well. Medicine is as much art and intuition, I know what I am saying here, as ability to translate the dialogue between patient, labs and doctors. Some things are simple and precise; but not always and being from the world of fashion, we do know how to stick our elbows out, smile and ask pertinent questions.

I had a quirky mammogram in June. Scar tissue bundles up and will confuse the technicians. An ultrasound is ordered, which is certainly much more comfortable. Lying in a bed at St. John's soft enough to have a hidden feather bed, a diffused pink peony with a simple cream mat and framed in a simple pine, the ultrasound confirms and reassures. My doctor is gentle but I imagine she'd gear up in Ninja gear with one of those Kill Bill swords to scoop out anything bad.

The point of this post is to repeat in bold something Dr. Alice Chung believes that is contra to the US Preventative Services Task Force. Frankly, if she believes it, then that's what we will believe in, insist upon and do (even though we do not want any part of this, sigh.) The USPS Task Force (huh? we're talking about Breasts here - task force sort of pisses me off.) believes in women beginning mammography at age fifty instead of age forty, women fifty to seventy-four should have a mammogram every other year and regular clinical breast exams are no longer advise. In a word .. my nicest word for this ... HUH?

No. We will instead listen to Dr. Chung and "we still believe screenings should begin at age forty for average risk women and continue annually ... for women over age seventy-four, if they are healthy, they should continue yearly screening."

Screenings save lives and breasts. Earlier the better and peace of mind matters. There have been crazy good advances in treating breast cancer, even the dreadful advanced cases. One of the sad things is that women (and men) have had to endure horrible side effects including loss of hair and nausea, and that's the beginning. It seems that in the wonderful world of biotech, there are sudden revolutions, not just a little better. This article is profound and if breast cancer is part  of your world, this is incredibly important. The article here, link here, is about a study of one hundred thirty five women in which the drug candidate worked better than the usual first line treatment and hair loss was reduced to 1.5% of the population. Better, fewer side effects and presenting additional documentation in Europe this weekend. This is a big deal and at the feet of the FDA - how to make treatments like this move quickly to the front of the line and yet preserve patient safety. Imagine ... saving a life better and without making the patient endure really dreadful side effects.  I did begin a stock position in this company and will add piece by piece: biotech investing is bumpy and best done slowly, I think.

(the blacked out link will take you to the article: blogger won't let me fix this, hmmmmm).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yoga: A Guest Blog By Maria Rainer

Just before my Apple desktops developed "issues" (hard drive failures), Maria Rainer who is a writer and "blog junkie," spoke to me about doing a Guest Post to talk about Yoga. I was thrilled because I spent a long time sweating in Bikram's Beverly Hills basement room. It was crazily intense, holding poses for as long as he thought we should in a heated room. I don't know for sure whether he set the temperature in the '90's but anecdotally I think he did. We posed for ninety minutes and while it was never to have been competitive, many of us yearned for the moment Bikram could stand on our perfectly flat backs as our chins reached our toes. Sometimes Bikram would talk about hot dogs and sometimes he would prod, poke, tell stories and truthfully we all fell in love with him. His goodness was just manifest. The curious thing to me was that there really were times when holding a pose I, or someone near me, would suddenly sob, all emotion just raw and available. It was a very good thing. 

I am not a purist ... I love the strength and grace of Yoga and the amazing feeling of freshly oxygenated blood rushing through your body. It's a happy, happy thing. But I also love the fashion of yoga, which changes from time to time. I loved the ballerina leotard with soft cotton leggings and still wonder about the "Yoga" pant which frankly is a little more boot leg than I like. I did wear a silk flower (Gunn Trigere had a shop on Rodeo Drive with her husband Robert and it was filled with silk camellias for your hair and your wrist; Ms. Pauline Trigere, really my absolute fashion idol, was Robert's sister) in my hair, a deco watch (does anyone remember watches?). But I also love the purity of another Yoga practice that suggests washing your face in yoghurt. Oh and another really extraordinary thing is that your muscles remember the poses. (Yes, that's Kim Lee in the photo with me.)

Thank you Maria for your post. The following is how Maria experiences Yoga ...


Like everything else that’s made it to America—sushi, pizza, martial arts—yoga has become bastardized.  Japanese people don’t know nor do they care about a California roll because it’s so icky in comparison to traditional sushi rolls.  Italians laugh at the mere mention of Dominos, and every-self-respecting martial artist abroad knows that Karate is a discipline, not just a method of self-defense.  In the same vein, the best parts of yoga are hardly of any concern to the casual practitioner, who uses it to shed pounds in America’s doomed diet craze.  The following are probably the least trendy but the most rewarding aspects of yoga.  Maybe real trendsetters rather than followers will care.
I won’t bore you with years and eras and this kingdom and that.  Basically, India gave rise to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism—religions that incorporated mental, physical, and even verbal disciplines that can collectively be called yoga.  There are lots of branches of yoga but the word itself can sum up its philosophy: it’s derived from “yuj” which means in Sanskrit, “to unite.”
In our daily lives, we do everything humanly possible to distance our minds from our bodies.  We play video games, we watch other people lead dramatic lives on reality TV, we shave natural body hair and paint our faces so we can be accepted into the streets we walk out on in clickety-clack high heels.  Yoga embraces none of these things.
I’m not about to tell you to go cave man and live in the mountains somewhere with the wolves to be one with nature and your body.  But true yoga can have a place in our lives.  Think of yoga as your morning cup of tea.  Tea has antioxidants—it is innately good for you in moderation.  It’s warm and so it calms you.  When you drink it and stare out your window into the sky, you don’t really think about anything; you just space out.  Then, when you’re done, it’s like you’ve taken a power nap and somehow you feel like you’re ready to take on the day.
During the physical practice of yoga, your mind unites with your body and you can detach yourself from all the toxic things—everything from high heels that hurt your feet and posture to memories of phone calls from your ex-boyfriend that make you want to punch holes through your walls.  With time, yoga can help heal physical as well as psychological ailments.  Yoga is being at peace not only with yourself but with your elements by being detached from them.
You can walk into any bookstore or gym these days and find a way to become a yogi or yogini.  You’ll want to wear athletic clothes since our skinny jeans and button-downs don’t exactly make for comfortable wear.  You’ll also want a yoga mat unless you’ve got a smooth wooden floor—the point is that your bare hands and feet have a firm grip.  Look for yoga mats made of recycled material.  They’re pricier but if you’re going to be meditating through yoga, it’d probably be best not to remind yourself that you just crushed Mama Earth beneath your pretty heel.
If you can’t find anything in thrift stores or in the yuppie section of town, try looking online at:  At least through this website, part of the proceeds of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice.  You’ll feel more loyal to the true philosophy of yoga when you slip into your fair-trade yoga pants or tote around an earth-friendly yoga mat bag.
You’ll notice changes—some quickly, some slowly—as you practice yoga.
  • increased flexibility
  • increased lubrication of joints, ligaments, and tendons
  • healthier organs (yoga massages all organs of your body)
  • increased blood circulation (which means detoxification, which can mean clearer skin, delayed aging, more energy throughout the day)
  • muscle tone

The best part of yoga, however, can’t be seen in a mirror.  As your strength and flexibility increase, you will be able to do things with your body you never thought possible.  This increases your self-confidence and allows you to believe in not only your body but yourself.  This means less worrying, more being happy with yourself and your situations, and it’s common knowledge that a smile is infinitely prettier than a glower.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Technology: How To Love Technology And What To Do When It Bites You

Oops. Duckie Brown and Twelve Best Fashion Rules, Duckie's wonderful guest post was on Jackson's seventeenth birthday .... all the way back on September 22. The next morning one of my Apple desktops was, well, behaving poorly (yes, a little like a p/c ... ssssh). Apple Care was helpful and patient, even into the fourth hour on the phone (true, Michael was wonderful). Back in July in the middle of my move to Venice Beach, each of the desktops had behaved poorly and a few days apart needed to have their Nividia video cards and logic boards replaced; strange to know the name of the secret workings. But the day after Jackson's birthday, one was losing its logic and the other was spinning pumpkins. 

Here's the thing to know about computers. Things can go awry, rather like owning a bike in Venice and glumly reading a police warning that if you own a bike, it will be taken and here's the instructions for that event.

Have a warranty. Apple Care is delicious and provides hours of generous help from incredibly patient Geniuses as well as parts and consultations as you like at the Apple Store. Back in the beginning of the Genius Bar, they kindly served Evian; after a few splashed hard drives too many, that did have to go. Leaving anything that could spill would be simply a disaster and physical damage aka water damage ends the care. The bits and pieces along with labor are plenty spendy, the price of a decent Lanvin or Balenciaga bag from what my pair each needed in July. The bill would have been something over 1,300.00 each and it was all covered. But all good things do end and these issues were straddling End of Apple Care. Michael soothed me immediately by promising another thirty days to make sure that the new problems could be sorted out.

Backups. Do it. Do it again and in a few ways. Not even like the night or two you are just too tired to swipe off mascara and the day's artifacts from your face. No. You are able with about three keystrokes to order your backups to do the work without your ever having to think about it. Apple's Time Machine is simply magnificent, automatically swooping in and making a mirror of absolutely everything, all the software and updates and the rest. Amazon sells (sssssh) the Iomega 1 TB (terabyte) external hard drive in a dark grey link here (yes, it made me think of a Balenciaga bad just that same tone) and it's discreet and 30.00 less than at the Apple Store. Get a pair and set them up and then forget about it. If anything goes awry, Time Machine will gently break the news to you. There will be choices.

More is necessary. Not much but yes another layer is healthy. All those chapters of the book you're working on and blog entries and letters that you really need? Email yourself a copy. Stored forever in the ether and always available to you. Photos? Not perfect but since you have at least three locations (your computer plus two externals) Picasa can be a free or almost free (depending on how huge your library is)  place that stores your photos as well. It's frankly not as easy to send everything from Picasa back to your iPhoto library (well, I'm not Ms. I Know That Much About Computers) but it can be done, it's safe and photos really matter. Your music should be safe on two externals but perhaps even a third external (these do cost less than a pedicure) just for music and photos. 

Software updates are essential and again one can set it up on automatic, just check with you to see if you want your computer to restart when necessary on its own time or ask you.

The lovely Julie Anne Rhodes, her amazing blog Jewels From The Roving Stove is linked here, wrote about her experience with computers and how to restore data, how to wipe data (lojack for laptops link here) and cancel all credit cards and how to deal with police reports in this post link here

Here's the thing ... technology is here to stay. It can be a little intimidating (ok, it did take me a week to figure out how to get the USB cord from my very sweet Epson Artisan 810 into my desktop) but it's ever so cool that we can stuff an iPad (pure love, do download Pages for iPad for 9.99 and write your book there, email it to yourself and then it all shows up on your desktop, oh pure happiness). This event was really scary on the very last two days of Apple Care needing major work. Each has a nice new hard drive and Apple was kind enough to make it up with a nice ninety days of Apple Care. A new hard drive meant restoring information and it happened. Not too many quirks, not even that many hours. It worked.

Getting it all working took a lot of time and patience and genuine self-doubt. Which brings me to the next post ... a guest post about Yoga. All true and yet there is a very genuine part of me that believes fashion mixed in with Yoga and Pilates are even better. 

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