Personalize Wellness

August 27, 2014 § Leave a comment


For anyone who is looking to add a healthy dose of mindfulness to a daily routine, the app Fig reminds users to slow down and enjoy the simpler things. Personalized wellness goals for body and soul. Inspired by city slickers with high stress careers and unhealthy lifestyle habits, Fig aims to better life one small goal at a time. The app provides a wide variety of categorized tasks and goals recommended to users as well as the ability to craft one’s own custom goals, such as drinking more water, responding to old friends or remembering to meditate.


Create your own wellness guide by quickly selecting activities from common goals. Choose across 6 holistic categories -eat, move, refresh, connect, feel, and go further. Browse over 300 expert-written activities or customize and create new ones. A personal and enjoyable way to pursue your wellness aspirations. Take the journey of holistic transformation with simple activities. Share your journey with friends and loved ones. Flourish together. Available from iTunes & Fig.

Culinary Aromatherapy

August 9, 2014 Comments Off


Summer is a great time to cook with Lavender, bringing the beautiful aroma inside. Despite Lavender being synonymous with Provence (France), it is ‘English Lavender,’ varieties of ‘angustifolia,’ that are best for culinary use as the flavor is more mellow. English Lavender has been used traditionally for culinary purposes, aromatherapy applications, and for centuries, as an herbal remedy, for both its relaxing and uplifting qualities. Lavender has an ‘androgynous’ aroma and flavor, it is both savory and sweet, with a distinct herbal edge.


The delicate flavor of Lavender flowers gives this Lavender Shortbread Cookie recipe a particularly grown-up taste. Fun and fancy! These are so delicious and have the perfect combination of sweetness and Lavender, with a hint of Lemon -mild, somewhat exotic flavor. Being shortbread, they will fall apart easily when taking them off the baking sheet, so be careful. Depending how thick you make them, the recipe makes anywhere from 2-4 dozen. You can experiment by making some thin and round and others thicker and rectangular. Either way, you’ll love them, and will want to share! Perfect for fragrant & sweet Summer garden gifting.


  • 3 sticks of Earth Balance (non dairy butter) room temperature, or 1 cup coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 cups baking flour or oat flour
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-5 Tbsp finely chopped fresh organic lavender buds
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 tsp rosewater
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


1. In a medium-size bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Add lavender and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. When thoroughly mixed, add to the wet batter, then add the rosewater, and stir until well blended. You should have a thick cookie batter. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten to about 1 inch. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

3. When ready to prepare the cookies, preheat oven to 325. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes (less if thinner) or until the cookies begin to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


A fabulous Lavender shortbread deserves to be served with a proper cup of aromatic tea. An organic herbal blend of beautiful and fragrant Chamomile and Lavender flowers with soothing Lemon Balm, makes for a complementary synergy. What could be better? Settles your nervous system and relaxes your digestive system as well. If you prefer to leave the Tao of Tea to the masters, Traditional Medicinals makes high-quality organic herbal teas, including my personal favorite Chamomile with Lavender Tea. Pioneers in the wellness tea category that continue to lead the way.

Garden Note

When cooking with Lavender it is key to ensure using culinary/edible Lavender and not Lavender prepared for things like potpourri which can be treated with chemicals. If you don’t have Lavender growing in your own garden, culinary Lavender may be purchased at well stocked grocery stores, herb/spice stores or apothecaries, as well a grown in a pot or home garden for picking anytime. With a small amount added to many recipes, a ho-hum dish or cup of tea can be elevated to having international flair!

Camellia Love

August 5, 2014 Comments Off

In a sea of new and ever-present organic beauty products with outstanding ingredients sourced to the ends of the earth, aroma M Beauty Camellia Oils stand out in a niche market, that is both brainy and beautiful. An artisanal alchemy of tradition, ritual, natural beauty, allure and aesthetics. Designed to be beautiful, and simultaneously enchant the mind, the soul, the senses, and the skin.


aroma M Camellia Hair Oil & Face Oil, Camellia Oil features prominently in the collection, which means all types of skin and hair will benefit due to its versatility. Derived from the seeds of Camellias, a kind of evergreen shrub with shiny leaves and Rose-like flowers, Camellia Oil is known to be an effective multi-purpose moisturizer, considered a Japanese beauty secret used by women to nourish both their skin and hair for centuries. Brimming with Vitamins A, B, C, E, it penetrates quickly and deeply, providing optimum hydration with a sheer soft feel.

Organic Beauty Elixirs -in Art Nouveau glass bottles adorned with signature patterned Yuzen paper designs handcrafted in Kyoto, blended by the creatrix Maria McElroy, that is aroma M Beauty. A synthesis of beneficial beauty combining the best of both Eastern and Western traditions. The Camellia Oil Collection which includes a Face, Hair, and Body/Bath Oil, is the ultimate in refined beauty. An alluring and complex list of precious ingredients blended to perfection: Organic Camellia, Carrot Seed, Grape Seed, Golden Jojoba, Apricot Kernel, Evening Primrose, Vitamin E, and Virgin Argan Oils, laced with a delicate bouquet of Essential Oils of Jasmine, Neroli, Tuberose, Rosemary, Moroccan Rose, Geranium and Frankincense. Nothing short of amazing! Effective and exquisite. Camellia Oil Love.


American born artist Maria McElroy synthesized her love of blending colours and textures with her passion for scent to create aroma M Perfumes in 1995. Maria’s seven-year journey rich in Japanese history, romance and mystery, became the genesis for aroma M Beauty and the inspiration for the capsule collection of Geisha beauty products

Ayurveda Yoga Retreat

July 27, 2014 Comments Off


 Ayurveda Health & Yoga Retreat, Tuscany, Italy, August 24-30, 2014, Five nights at a stunning 17th century eco-villa surrounded by 750 bio-dynamic acres of rolling hills, forests & vineyards. Bucket list worthy retreat. California-based Ayurvedic author and expert, Talya Lutzker, a certified Ayurveda practitioner, yoga teacher, and professional chef and author of two Ayurvedic cookbooks, including the newly released, The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen: Finding Harmony Through Food, and Gayle Olson, yoga teacher and author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, are hosting an Ayurvedic Health & Yoga Retreat in Italy. An exotic exploration of Ayurvedic cooking and Ayurveda as a foundational, do-it-yourself medicinal path you can incorporate into your everyday life, and Hatha, Iyengar and Vinyasa-inspired yoga classes will be taught in an ancient shala, overlooking Tuscan hills and groves. Doesn’t get much better than that!


Originating in India thousands of years ago, Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words: ‘Ayu’ which means life and ‘Veda’ which means the knowledge of. To know about life is Ayurveda.

Located in the heart of Tuscany, between Florence and Siena near the famous medieval towns of Volterra and San Gimignano, this beautiful villa and retreat center could not be more perfectly situated for privacy and nature, while granting access to charming villages for shopping and sight-seeing. The meals -featuring organic, vegetarian and Ayurvedic, farm-to-table fare, are served on a terrace overlooking a lake. The produce and grains are grown on bio-dynamic land or sourced from neighboring organic farms. Bread, honey, jams, wine, olive oil, soaps, toiletries, and other herbal products are all made from natural sources from the estate and the surrounding areas. A Mediterranean-Style Yoga Retreat that blends good health with good living. Designed as a healthy holiday that promotes physical health and well-being, while immersing you in an old-world appreciation of culture, slow-food cuisine, connection to the land, and the value of a good siesta! For information on this journey and more visit Exotic Yoga Retreats.

On Meditation

July 23, 2014 Comments Off


On Meditation: Gabrielle Bernstein, Short Film & Discussion, Rubin Museum of Art Talks, Wednesday August 20th, 2014, 7pm, New York. Premiere screening of a portrait of life coach Gabrielle Bernstein talking about her meditation practice. The film is followed by a conversation between Gabrielle and contemplative psychotherapist Joe Loizzo on what effects meditation is thought to have on our happiness and wellbeing. A book signing follows, including her latest bestsellers Miracles Now and May Cause Miracles.

Gabrielle_BookMiracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose by Gabrielle Bernstein, Hardcover, Published by: Hay House Inc, April 2014

108 simple techniques to combat our most common problems -stress, burnout, frustration, jealousy, resentment. The stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis. This book is designed so that you can achieve peace and experience miracles now. Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings, these practical, moment-to-moment tools will help you eliminate blocks and live with more ease. Powerful, life-changing meditations and principles, modernized and broken down into easy-to-digest techniques to fit your lifestyle. Throughout the book, Bernstein shares principles from both A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga and meditation. Tools that can help you find your connection to your inner strength and inspire inner peace.


Life coach Gabrielle Bernstein is the New York Times best-selling author of Miracles Now and May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life, and Spirit Junkie. Gabrielle is a regular contributor to Metro and The Huffington Post. She has presented lectures at Google, TEDxWomen, L’Oreal, Agape Spiritual Center, Integral Yoga, Kripalu and universities nationwide, among many others. Gabrielle is a certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher. She is also trained in the Emotional Freedom Technique and she’s a student of Transcendental Meditation -as taught by the David Lynch Foundation.

Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D. is a contemplative psychotherapist, researcher and teacher who integrates ancient contemplative science and technology with current breakthroughs in neuroscience and optimal health. After training in psychiatry at Harvard and completing a Ph.D in Buddhist Studies at Columbia, he founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a contemplative learning community that teaches timeless tools of self-healing and interdependence for today’s complex world. His latest book is Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration.

Rose Petal Jam

July 15, 2014 Comments Off

With Roses in full bloom now is a good time to make the most of the plentiful supply of petals and preserve them for use all year round. There is nothing that heals the soul quite like morning sunshine, time well-spent in the garden, and Rose Petal Jam. Turn garden Rose Petals into a sweet, stunning treat with this Rose Petal Jam recipe. Capture the scent of a Summer garden and put it in a jar on your shelf!


 Rose Petal Jam is fragrant and floral, and it’s lovely on crusty toasted sunflower seed bread. Eating Roses for breakfast, what an intoxicating, exotic, beautiful and romantic way to start the day. If you ever wondered what it might be like for a hummingbird to taste a Rose, this jam is for you!


  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 3 cups organic wild rose petals, thicker tissue at base of petals removed
  • 2 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin + (more for desired thickness)
  • 1 Tbsp rose water


Step One: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Add petals; cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain liquid into clean saucepan. Discard petals.

Step Two: Add sugar and lemon juice to pan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat. Boil 2 minutes; add pectin, and boil 2 minutes (for firmer jelly, boil up to 2 minutes more). Remove from heat, add rose water. Pour into sterilized jars, and let cool completely. Makes 3 1/4 cups. Store in refrigerator up to 6 months.

Garden Note

Pick a pretty color Rose because your jam will be about the same color as the petals. The jam is made in small batches so you can vary the color of each batch depending on the amount of light and dark-colored Roses that are used. As a general rule of thumb, the most fragrant Roses are usually the most flavorful. All Roses that you intend to eat must be free of pesticides. Do not eat flowers from florists or garden centers. In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not labeled for food crops.

Valentino Love

July 13, 2014 Comments Off


Model wearing creation backstage as part of the Valentino Fall|Winter 2014-15 Haute Couture Collection, Paris 2014.

The Roman influences of this collection are on full display in this flowing gown, paired with knee-high gladiator sandals. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli channeled the pre-Raphaelite era for their Valentino goddess collection presented in Paris this week, naming looks after Elizabeth Siddal and Sibylla Palmifera. “We love the idea that the artists looked to the past to create something new,” Chiuri said backstage. “That’s what we try to do.” They wanted, they said, to explore the idea of how you work “memory and the future together,” and so they did, to divine effect. They took concepts with classical and religious resonance -tunic, chasuble, draping, gladiator sandal- and worked them into pieces that radiated the power of gentility. Classical Simplicity. Some are utterly modest, as the crepe tunics and gowns, others, done in unfussy intarsia motifs. Others still are crafted from rarefied materials, even by haute standards, skirts and coats made from museum-worthy pieces of 17th-century tapestries. The collection is lovely. Romantic, but with a nice sense of rawness. As the Pre-Raphaelites would have put it: Back to nature! Up with beauty! Valentino Love.

Art Of The Home

July 9, 2014 Comments Off

Ralph Lauren. The quintessential American designer -who continues to redefine American style, beautifully. He had me at wider neck ties and Polo Shirts, decades ago. Ties and shirts eventually led to seasonal head-to-toe collections outfitting both men and women. Some of Lauren’s earliest fashion successes were his interpretations of traditional British sportswear (riding clothes, hunting tweeds, Scottish tartans), and that style remains one of his hallmarks. It’s also an aesthetic that helped shape signature pieces in the Ralph Lauren Home Collection. Back in the 1980’s, in the days before major fashion houses had furnishings lines, the designer launched Ralph Lauren Home, expanding his vision of a thoroughly stylish life.


Ralph Lauren posing in the entry hall of his Bedford New York home dressed for riding.

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of Lauren’s pioneering home collection, a line whose impact and influence have been monumental. Customers can now buy Ralph Lauren bedding, furniture, lighting, rugs, china and glassware, wall coverings, and paint in a wide variety of looks with evocative names such as English Riding Velvet, Romantic Traveler, Alpine Lodge, The Heiress, Desert Modern, and new this year, the chic Ile Saint-Louis Collection. Ralph Lauren Home presents award-winning, one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by the classic heirloom furniture of 18th and 19th century America. Understanding that home begins within, the aesthetic of this collection reflects a personal evolution of individual style through timeless objects that employ a definitive design heritage. Original craftsmanship and era-specific flourishes make these items an investment that will last generations.


Ralph Lauren Home, Ile Saint Louis Saint Germain Sawbuck Desk in Sandblasted Oak Natural & Cannes Dugiere Dinning Chair with Montmarte Stripe Linen Washed Finish Fabric In Lilac, The Ile Saint-Louis Collection is an unassuming ode to bohemian elegance, a mix of vintage-inspired and industrial designs softened by a muted palette of tonal neutrals and lilac. Ralph Lauren always gets creating iconic, time-worn Old World eclectic luxury, right.


 Ralph Lauren Home, Ile Saint Louis Evalina Chandelier in Butlier’s Silver, 46 1/2 x 36, This classic empire chandelier is designed with a minimalist metal frame to emphasis the emerald-cut graduated oval strands of crystals that have been hand cut and polished. Capturing the raw beauty of natural materials and the sophistication of classic furniture shapes, these signature pieces showcase Ralph Lauren’s most recognizable influences -from the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age to the Western frontier.


Ralph Lauren Home, Ile Saint Louis Chelsea Damask Wallcovering in Sandalwood, In this collection, luxury textures of natural seagrass, cork and scroll embroidery mix with romantic damasks and floral arabesques in a rich, neutral palette evoking an atmosphere of graceful elegance. Other wallcovering collections include: Archival English Papers, Century Club Textures, Serengeti Textures and Stripe Library.


Ralph Lauren Faux Finish Paint in High Desert Suede, Ralph Lauren signature paint has set the industry standard for quality, color selection, and elegant faux finishes. Lauren’s classic Antiqued Leather Technique transforms rooms by imparting detailed texture and patina of beautifully aged leather to any interior. Suede evokes the appeal of brushed suede with rich, authentic character. Light is reflected and absorbed, creating the feel of sophisticated romance for which Ralph Lauren is known. Suede is available in 44 colors. Specialty Finishes also available in River Rock and Regent Metallics.


Ralph Lauren Home, Desert Modern Sofa & Ottoman, Wood Club Chair & Cocktail Table in Desert Teak, Inspired by the vast beauty of the Western frontier, many of the pieces in this collection are sumptuous suede upholstery, calming earth tones, and warm woods, complemented with accessories and tableware with clean lines and natural materials. Exceptional Plantation Teak and textural fabrics in tonal neutrals create an iconic rugged luxury that is decidedly Ralph Lauren.


Ralph Lauren Home, Desert Modern Dining Table & Chairs in Dry Desert Teak, This solid Oak contemporary table impresses with the unique thickness of its wood and for its exposed hand-fitted mortise and tenon joints. Surrounded by crisp and tailored Tuxedo style dining chairs that feature tapered Teak wood legs. Thoughtfully chosen palette and textures creates visual harmony and contrast juxtapose the desert landscape.


Ralph Lauren Home, The Heiress Sofa in Estate Mahogany Finish & Clarissa Damask Linen & Silk Fabric in Cameo, This opulent sofa boasts exuberantly rolled arms, brass nail head trim and stepped square George V legs on castors & feather down cushions. Ralph Lauren signature fabrics are carefully woven by skilled artisans around the world, to create a rich tapestry of patterns and textures, ensuring that they are of heirloom quality.


Ralph Lauren Home, Alpine Lodge Table in Chalet Pine, Epic mastery and hearty, rustic Pine come together to make this majestic table. Inspired by international glamour of a well-appointed ski chalet, the Alpine Lodge collection features lush earthy textures and tones, and classic patterns that create a modern, ultraluxe statement.


Ralph Lauren Home, Alpine Lodge Shearing Blanket & Cashmere Pillow, A plush long-hair shearing throw is crafted in a pieced-quadrant construction and backed in soft knit wool for added warmth and rich texture, with an ultra-soft cashmere pillow featuring a variety of patterns and motifs. In subtle yet impressive neutral shades -from cocoa to cream, these heritage-inspired designs beautifully complement and accessorize the Alpine Lodge collection. Like all of Ralph Lauren Signature Classics -great attention to detail, design and quality, with an emphasis on sumptuous materials and iconic color palette.


Ralph Lauren Home, Alpine Lodge Chest in Chalet Pine Finish, Provincial three-drawer solid Pine dresser in the Louis 15th style with an unusual apron profile & spade feet. With a focus on authenticity and quality, Ralph Lauren produces unique pieces that are as true to form as they are to function and reflect a refined sense of character that only improves with time.


Ralph Lauren Home, Colorado Club Chair & Ottoman in Moab Tan Leather, The mid-century lines of a 1940’s lounge chair take on a Western spirit in distressed leather with whipstitched edges and bold hammered nickel nailhead trim. Available in a variety of fabrics, leather, custom upholstery & base finish.


Ralph Lauren Home, Westminster Lounge in Conservatory Garden Mahogany, A masterpiece of elegance, with spooled legs and caster feet, this 19th century lounge features a curved head rest, continuous arms and button-tufted upholstery detailing. A feminine statement piece, equally lovely in the boudoir or bedroom. Enduring style and exquisite craftsmanship, synonymous with the name Ralph Lauren.


Ralph Lauren Home, RLH Collection Leather Trunk, 36 x 16 x 24, Heavily worn leather on Pine, nailhead brass studs trim, and an angular shape create the industrial feel of this trunk. In true Ralph Lauren style, the trunk blends masterful craftsmanship with the ethos of historic furniture design.


Ralph Lauren Home, RLH Collection Trestle Desk in Scrubbed Walnut Finish, A solid Walnut writing surface is supported on a pair of A-frame trestles and supports. This frontier writing desk, inspired by a piece from New Mexico crafted circa 1920, also features dual-sided partners’ drawers and iron hardware. Influenced by one-of-a-kind pieces, this collection is defined by period construction details and authentic craftmanship, that embody the spirit of artisanal luxury.


Ralph Lauren Home, Indian Cove Lodge Fauteuil in Solid Walnut Gilt Finish, This hand-carved Louis XV style fauteuil features a traditional doweled and corner-blocked frame, Rococo carvings and a gold leaf finish. An inviting mix of classic motifs, bespoke craftmanship, and elegantly undone bohemian elements. A piece well-suited for the artful home. Ralph Lauren Love.

Pretty Tasty

July 7, 2014 Comments Off

Wander around most any farmer’s market in Summer and you’ll likely come across squash blossoms, just one of the dozens of edible flowers you can use to dress up a salad or garnish a Summery dish. Right now is the perfect season for these sweet and nutty flavored blossoms. Have you seen squash blossoms at your local farmers market? I encourage you to try them. And if you already have them in the garden, here’s a beautiful and flavorful way to enjoy them. Like any meal, a salad tastes best when you appreciate where it comes from and enjoy it with people you like to be around.


Squash Blossom, Avocado & Butter Lettuce Salad, Quick, delicious, and pretty, too, this salad is nice for a special warm-weather menu -with smooth, velvety textures and harmonious ingredients. Blossoms are a true delicacy -fragile and highly perishable, for best results, add them to your dish within the hour of picking.


  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 organic butter lettuce head, torn into large pieces
  • 2 cups organic small squash blossoms, stems removed, divided
  • 3 Tbsp roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 organic avocado, peeled and sliced
  • sea salt & pepper to taste


Whisk together lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add lettuce, 1 1/2 cups blossoms, the sunflower seeds, and avocado and lightly toss with dressing until coated. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup blossoms on top of salad. Enjoy!

Garden Note

You can get squash, as well as the blossoms, if you harvest the flowers correctly. When you look at a squash flower, you’ll see that some have a tiny squash attached to the base of the flower bud before it blooms -these are the female flowers. Others have no tiny squash attached, just a thin stem leading right up to the flower with a single anther, the part of the flower that sheds powdery yellow pollen -these are male flowers. Plants often make a few male flowers before they produce their first female ones. Pick the male flowers and rub the anther against the sticky center of any open female flowers before taking the boys to the kitchen. This helps ensure that your female flowers turn into plump, flavorful fruit. If you’re not interested in the fruit, you can pick the female flowers before or just as they open and cook them whole with a little olive oil, for a real treat.


Lemonade With Violas, The perfect seasonal accompaniment to the salad would be a fresh squeezed lemonade sprinkled with Violas. Commonly known as “heartsease” for its medicinal properties, Viola tricolor has long been used as an edible flower, sprinkled on salads or as adornments for desserts. Johnny-Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) makes a dainty plant, with pretty little white, blue, lavender, purple, and yellow-faced miniature pansy flowers. The flavour is delicate, sweet, wintergreen, and perfumed. Both the leaves and blooms are edible. Toss these cheerful little flowers into salads whole, add them to a bowl of fresh fruit, or float them atop cold drinks.

Garden Note

For best flavor and shelf life, pick flowers in the morning after the dew has dried, select blooms that have just opened. Carefully pinch or cut off the pistils and stamens -the parts that stick out in the center of the petals in many flowers, and the green or whitish base of each flower or petal. Common sense: Use organic, pesticide-free plants from nurseries and shops that offer organically grown flowers, pick them from a trusted friend’s organic garden, or grow your own.

NY Film Festival

July 4, 2014 Comments Off


Laurie Simmons, Poster promoting the 52nd New York Film FestivalDesigned by Laurie Simmons, this year’s poster joins a stellar lineage of designs by prominent artists. NYFF has featured posters designed by distinguished artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, and last year’s artist, Tacita Dean. Considered an annual artistic “signature” for the festival, NYFF posters have taken on a celebrated pop culture significance through the years.The posters will be available to buy for $25 during the upcoming New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center which takes place from 26 Sept.- 12 Oct., 2014.


Laurie Simmons is an internationally recognized artist who stages photographs and films with paper dolls, finger puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and costumed dancers as “living objects,” animating a dollhouse world suffused with nostalgia and colored by an adult’s memories, longings, and regrets. Her photographic works are collected by many institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim as well as The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center and the Hara Museum, Tokyo.

Simmons’s 2014 solo exhibitions include “Kigurumi, Dollers and How we See,” at Salon 94, New York, and “The Fabulous World of Laurie Simmons” at Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Germany. She was recently shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Award in photography. The nominated works are being exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Currently, she is working on her second film, a narrative feature titled “My Art.” Simmons lives and works in New York.


July 1, 2014 Comments Off


Debbie Harry/Blondie Dreaming, Autographed manuscript of the first verse of “Dreaming” from 1980, 24 x 20 in. large format photograph, from Sotheby’s New York June 2014 auction A Rock & Roll History: Presley To Punk. A classic from the punk band that recently released their 10th studio album to mark their 40th anniversary.

Art Of The Book

June 29, 2014 Comments Off


21st Editions Master Collection of Image, Word, & Artisan Bindings -shelves detail, The 21st Editions Master Collection (1998-2014), 21st Editions’ magnum opus, represents a unique collection of handmade photographs, classic and contemporary literature, and fine press books with artisan bindings. Influenced by the great accomplishments of the likes of Alvin Langdon Coburn, Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Curtis, Maxime DuCamp, Peter Henry Emerson, William Morris, Alfred Stieglitz, and William Henry Fox Talbot, this collection is unique, comprehensive and without equal in its diversity of image, word and craft.


21st Editions Master Collection of Image, Word, & Artisan Bindings -shelves detail, 21st Editions -The Art of the Book publishers in Cape Cod Massachusettes, combines photographic image, prose, poetry, and the fine-press book, unique to the history of photography. The 21st Editions Master Collection is the very first and likely last collection of its kind. There are currently thirteen full and complete sets in the world, to which books are still being added. Five of these are in private collections and one belongs to an academic institution. Of the remaining seven complete sets, the publisher is offering one set comprised of Deluxe Editions as well as one set comprised of both Deluxe and Museum Editions. Currently, the two collections offered are each comprised of 46 and 48 titles of bound books and portfolios, with 570 handmade photographs (495 signed) and 702 handmade photographs (652 signed), respectively.


Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium, Introduction by Elizabeth Partridge, Excerpts from an interview with Imogen Cunningham conducted by Rondal Partridge, Academy Award nominated documentary by Meg Partridge, 10 bound platinum prints including 1 frontispiece portrait by Rondal Partridge, 1 vintage silver print, and 3 loose platinum prints, Edition: 35 numbered copies, 18 x 14 in, Handcrafted in New England.


Jamie Baldridge -The Everywhere Chronicles, Photographs and short story by Jamie Baldridge, Afterword by John Wood, Edition: 17 Deluxe copies numbered 1 – 17 and 33 copies numbered 18-50, 12 bound, plus 1 fully signed and free-standing, pigment ink prints, Handcrafted in New England.


Masao Yamamoto -Deluxe Edition, Text and a poem by John Wood, Photographs by Masao Yamamoto, Edition: 42 numbered copies, Two volumes hand-bound in silk, 12 bound platinum prints and 3 loose silver gelatin prints, 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in, Handcrafted in New England.


The Book of Life: Photographs by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Poems by Morri Creech, Introduction by John Wood, Essay by Lance Speer, Edition: 75 numbered and 6 lettered copies, 10 bound, plus 1 fully signed and free-standing, platinum prints, 16 x 20 in, Handcrafted in New England.


Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg, Poems by John Wood, Edition: 38 copies, 10 signed bound platinum prints on Gampi Torinoko handmade paper, 3 loose, 20 x 24 in. signed platinum “Reconstructions” on Gampi Torinoko Mammoth, upright, 20 x 21 1/2 in, Handcrafted in New England.

The majority of the photographic prints are hand-coated platinum and palladium prints while the balance is made up of silver-gelatin, photogravure, kallitype, cyanotype, and pigment-ink prints. The bindings are uncompromisingly rich and varied. Photographers include Imogen Cunningham, Flor Garduño, Jerry Uelsmann, Herman Leonard, Michael Kenna, Sally Mann, Jack SpencerRobert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Masao Yamamoto, Charles Grogg and many others.


21st Editions started in 1998 as 21ST: The Journal of Contemporary Photography. The original mission of the press was to broaden the dialogue of contemporary fine art photography by bringing together the widest variety of photographic work with the finest international writers, poets, and essayists. The six volumes of the Journal published between 1998 and 2002 represent an astonishing survey of artistic visions and literary voices, revealing current thoughts on photography from a unique range of critical, intellectual, and historical points of view.

Following the critical acclaim received as early as 1999 -The Wall Street Journal, the press expanded its offerings in 2000 to include fine press, handmade monographs on the work of various photographers to serve as a complement to its Journal anthologies. Each of these hand-crafted monographs are illustrated with original signed photographs. They incorporate new writing by the artists themselves, leading contemporary historians, critics, poets, novelists, and philosophers. 21ST Editions has also published the works of such classic writers as Pindar, Han Shan, Shakespeare, Blake, Baudelaire, Whitman, Apollinaire, Rilke, and others, including contemporary poets.

Flora & Fauna

June 26, 2014 Comments Off


Anne Siems, Fireweed Tree, 48 X 48 on Panel, “Anne Siems: Flora and Fauna -Exhibition of New Work” is on view at Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, Texas, 9 August – 30 August, 2014. Siems is German born and now lives in Seattle. Her figurative work has typically been influenced by the landscape of her youth. However, for this show, Siems explores what she now calls home -the Pacific Northwest. Exploring a deeper connection with nature, through visual translucency and metaphor, she creates portraits of human characters that celebrate the joys of nature’s mysteries in relationship with old growth in the area.


Anne Siems, Grandmother (Lord Hill), 60 X 60 on Panel, These trees, shaman-like and each with their own almost mystical ecosystem, seem to speak to the timeless realm of dreams, psyche, and spirit as well as life and death just as her figures do. Focusing the figures costumes to that of the 1850’s, a time when the area was most heavily settled, was extremely important to Siems. Her ongoing love and homage to the European Masters, Early American Folk Art and vintage photography remain evident in this exploration and celebration of our spiritual connection to the world we inhabit.

For more on Anne Siems and her work see previous post Healing Magic

Think Dirty Shop Clean

June 24, 2014 Comments Off

The average man and woman uses between 6-12 beauty products a day, but all too often the ingredients inside these items remain a mystery. Because the cosmetics industry isn’t required to list all components on their labels, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for transparency, or ever finding out the full list of what we are actually putting on our skin routinely -until now.


 Enter the Think Dirty App. Think Dirty is an unbiased product-comparison mobile application for personal and skincare products created by Lily Tse -daughter of a breast-cancer survivor, who used her family history as inspiration for its creation. Tse partnered with charities like Breast Cancer Fund and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, who are champions in connecting the dots between prevention and exposure to chemicals in our everyday environments.


The free app lists over 130,000 products, and more are being suggested by Think Dirty’s 100,000 users each day. You can search the product list by name or simply scan the barcode using your mobile device. Think Dirty will then present you with a list of ingredients, each with a rating of 0-10 (10 being the worst), as well as an overall product grade.


An objective rating system gives you easy to understand information on the products, and an overview of the health impacts associated with a product and its ingredients, including long-term effects -clear science at a glance. To help you to choose products that won’t sacrifice your health for the sake beauty.


If the product has unhealthy chemicals, the app will also suggest similar beauty products that contain healthier and non toxic ingredients. Users can connect the app to social media, share items, and save products to their virtual bathroom shelf, which also gets an overall grade, and archive Dirty and Clean lists.


There is no government standard for safety, and laws do not regulate the use of words like “Natural” and “Organic” on cosmetics and personal care products, and with only 10 chemicals banned in the US -whereas Canada has banned just over 600 and The European Union Health Commission over 1300, Think Dirty was designed to empower and educate consumers, as well as help them to make more informed decisions when purchasing products. Ideally, it will help us all to ‘Think Dirty, Shop Clean.’ Available from iTunes.

Organic Beauties

June 22, 2014 Comments Off

Curated Summer Loves


Pippa Small Fair Trade Gold Leaf Bracelet from the Bolivian Collection, 18K Fair Trade Gold, Inspired by the jungles of the Yungus, on the slopes of the Andes where the Cotopata mine is situated, the Bolivian Ethical Gold Collection features twisting tendrils, exotic flowers and leaves, birds and bells that echo the joyful sound of tropical rain falling on large, wet wide leaves. Pippa Small is a couture jewelery designer and anthropologist residing in the U.K whose work is embedded in different cultures from all over the world -such as the San Bushman of the Kalahari, the Batwa Pygmies of Rwanda, and the Kuna in Panama, helping them to research their traditional designs to generate self-sufficiency and income, create a re-found respect for traditional materials, and pride in their creations. She is well-known for designs that encapsulate a hand-made organic feel -featuring precious and semi precious stones, as she is for her social consciousness. Small believes the art of jewelery making can enhance life and help alleviate poverty and protect precious traditions, helping to grow the confidence of craftspeople around the world and reverse the tradition of exploitation associated with the gem industry over the centuries.


Pippa Small Large Chryoprase Earrings, At 1 1/2″ x  3/8″ these earrings have a bold, earthy sophistication and bohemian allure. With their saturated and vibrant shade of Green, they add refreshing color to any collection. The smooth, long rounded rectangles of Chrysoprase are framed by a thin band of 18K Gold and dangle from Gold ear wires to create a pair of earrings with a Summery, eclectic, organic -in the true sense of the word, and talismanic feel. Work of art! Chrysoprase is believed to help clarify problems, making conscious what was unconscious. It also strengthens the workings of insight and improves the subconscious.


Massimo Alba Olive Carol Tunic Dress, 100 % Linen, Massimo Alba had been artfully designing clothes since the mid-1980’s before founding his eponymous brand in 2006. Based in Milan, Massimo Alba creates collections that are characterised by casual Italian elegance. The go-to label for understated pieces cut from sumptuously soft fabrics and dyed with natural, chemical-free pigments that are hypoallergenic. Each garment is hand-made in Italian workshops to the finest specifications. The collections include beautifully crafted cashmere knits given a vintage patina through overdyeing techniques, polos and popovers are made from easygoing linens and cotton blends, and tailoring and outerwear has a loose, unstructured feel that belies the fine-tuned craftsmanship. “There is a lot of construction inside, a lot of little details,” Alba explains of his slightly unkempt aesthetic. “I want there to be something special, but not too perfect.” An effortless Summer linen ensemble -adding a skinny belt, scarf, and sandals, that will take you effortlessly through this season and into the next.


Juniper Ridge Topanga Canyon Wilderness Cologne, A seasonal fragrance inspired by California’s coastal mountains in full bloom. Made for men and women, this cologne is distilled from wildflowers, plants, conifers, and bar harvasted in the green California coastal ranges from Big Sur to Baja. Scent Notes: Endless Wildflower Meadows, Wild Lilac Nectar, Springtime Sage, Rain-wet Oaks, and Creek-carved Mountain Swimming Holes. Juniper Ridge -the world’s only Wilderness Fragrance Distillery. They’re hikers and backpackers, not fashion or luxury-industry types. They distill colognes and perfumes from real plants, bark, moss, mushrooms, and tree trimmings found hiking the backcountry. A hundred years ago, all perfumes were made this way. Today they’re the only ones who handle every step of the process themselves, from beginning to end. Summer and mountains in a bottle!

Mario_ Badescu

Mario Badescu Chamomile Cleansing Lotion, If you like a homemade, garden fresh cleanser, you’ll love this extremely mild and gentle toner, which cleans, hydrates, refreshes, helps control sensitive skin, reduces inflammation, and restores healthy balance to skin thanks to its soothing two ingredients -Chamomile and water. Perfect synergy. Less is definitely more. Perennial Summer and all time favorite!  Beauty Tip: For soothing irritated eyes, you can make a relaxing compress with cold Chamomile Cleansing Lotion. Soak cotton pads or a cloth in chilled toner and place over eyelids for 10-15 minutes. Chamomile Love! Romanian-born Mario Badescu founded his Manhattan skincare salon in 1967, and used his vast knowledge of Eastern European skincare techniques to build a loyal following. Sold all over the world, the company’s products are still formulated with the philosophy that skincare should be simple, gentle and effective.


In Fiore Vitale Toning Floral Essence, Refreshing, stimulating, healing, toning and oxygenating, this certified organic aloe-based blend of 14 synergistic herbal infusions and essential oils is suitable for all skin types. The antidote to hypersensitivity, and Summer sun and dry skin. Spray liberally on face, neck and chest. Aloe vera, the “Silent Healer,” delivers vital herbs and essential oils directly to skin. With its high water content and 75 different constituents, aloe vera includes vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids, and salicylic acid. Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and hastens wound healing. In Fiore, a Beauty Pioneer is Perfumery as Medicine. The spirit of In Fiore was inspired by ancient bathing rituals -one of daily life’s simplest yet most significant cleansing practices. San Francisco based In Fiore was the very first luxury beauty care line blended only with pure oils and the finest floral absolutes. Celebrating the elemental appeal of raw florals and herbs, fashion veteran Julie Elliott established In Fiore to promote the centuries-old wisdom surrounding their dramatic health benefits. She remains the intuitive creatrix behind every handcrafted formula and blend.


Live Live & Organic Bee Yummy Skin Food, Best kept secret in the natural skin care world, this edible, hand-made Live Live signature product is real food for skin, and can be used as a moisturizer or rejuvenative and nutritive cream. Superior for healing numerous skin conditions. A Summer skin must-have. As a cosmetic cream Bee Yummy nourishes your skin with at least 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, 105 live enzymes & co-enzymes, hormones, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and pigments. Within minutes of application your skin will absorb as many as 80 nutrients contained in Honey, over 96 nutrients contained in Bee Pollen, as well as hormones, enzymes, antioxidants, and antibacterial & anti inflammatory elements present in Propolis and Royal Jelly -to speed up healing of wounds, burns, sunburns and bruises. Bee Yummy skin Cream is made from Wildflower Honey, Honey Cappings, Bee Pollen, Propolis, St. John’s Wort Oil, Royal Jelly, Purified Water, and Balsam Fir Needles as fragrance -hand harvested in a small wilderness area with it’s own micro climate & made by the same colony of bees from a small apiary, which accounts for energetic harmony and synergy of the cream. Honey is collected from the wildflowers, is unfiltered -just dripped from the comb, and contains the cappings of the hive with their precious, mysterious substances. Pollen, depending on season, is from a mixture of Wild Dandelion, Wild Roses, Raspberries, Asparagus, Goldenrod, Wild Apples, and Cherry Tree blossoms. Propolis is from high quality Poplar and Fir trees. No preservatives are needed because Honey, Propolis, and Balsam Fir are nature’s best preservatives and antibiotics. Honey is the only food on earth that will keep forever, and so will this cream. Live Live & Organic is located in New York and embraced as the best store for raw, organic, live & vegetarian health products.


Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, A replenishing nighttime 99.8% naturally-derived and paraben-free facial oil with distilled botanicals that visibly restores and brings a brighter and more radiant look to skin by morning. Evening Primrose Oil and Lavender Essential Oil soothes inflamed or irritated skin while helping reduce skin blotchiness for a more even look. Simply divine aromatherapy meets skin food. Reminds me of a Summer English Lavender garden. Lavender Love! Beauty Tip: For dry hands, add a few drops to your hand cream and massage into palms, rubbing into cuticles and knuckles. Kiehls, founded as an Old World Apothecary in 1851 in New York, distinguished for its simple and straightforward packing, premium ingredients and innovative dermatological skin care solutions, has a loyal cult following, for good reason. Kiehl’s always exceeds expectations. Rest assured!


Pratima Brahmi Nourishing Hair Oil, This excellent deep conditioning treatment is great for Season specific-dry hair or parched treated hair. You only need a small amount to nourish the hair and strengthen follicles -in a formulation free of artificial scents, colors, and GMOs. Brahmi and anti-oxidant rich Amla along with organic essentials oils of Jasmine and Lavender help reduce dryness of the scalp, while restoring shine and manageability. Handmade by an Ayurvedic physician, botanist, and chemist, Pratima skincare transforms the ancient properties of Ayurveda into modern prescriptions for skin. Organic, cruelty-free ingredients are blended according to tridosha theory, a belief that the body is made up of three doshas: dry Vata skin, combination Pitta skin, and oily Kapha skin. These potent blends, alongside offerings suitable for any complexion, deliver specialized formulas that visibly improve skin immunity and balance. From performing healing mantras during the creation of each formula, guaranteeing only sattvic ingredients, and packaging her blends in 100% recyclable glass, Dr. Pratima Raichur values Ayurvedic traditions in every detail.


Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun: Before & After Body Oil, An ideal moisturizer for all skin types. Every single ingredient in this product has been clinically studied or used historically for its sun damage prevention, or sun damage repair attributes. The oil features Avocado, Red Raspberry Seed and Coconut Oils for their rich texture, rich vitamin and mineral content, and their connection to reflecting the sun’s rays. Rosehip Oil and Sea Buckthorn are also stand outs in this formula, raising the Vitamin C and Vitamin E content drastically of this blend; both antioxidants prevent potential free radical damage caused by the sun. Organic and therapeutic grade essential oils of Carrot Seed, Sandalwood, Helichrysum, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, and Frankincense are chosen specifically for their relationship to sun protection and sun repair; and combined they smell bright and joyous -perfect for Summer sunshine. This product includes a housemade gem essence blend, specific to the feeling of “Summer,” to inspire light, truth, and joy. Note: This product is made specifically for purists who want an alternative to Zinc, and for those who have a healthy relationship with the sun. Laurel Whole Plant Organics -formerly Sequoia Beauty, is a Northern California flower and herb based skincare line with a philosophy that the most effective skin care is raw, organic, farm sourced, handcrafted and made with love. Many of Laurel’s organic and therapeutic grade essential oils are chosen to reflect on the beautiful scents of California.


Jiva-Apoha Atman Spirit Oil, For calming, grounding, purifying, and Summer soulfulness, this all Natural Sesame & Sunflower Oils, 100% Pure Essential Frankincense, Sandalwood, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Palo Santo (Holy Wood) & Neroli Oils blend is powerfully perfect. Five precious essences comprise Atman, culminating in the scent of profound stillness. Fresh, deeply verdant and woody with a delicate hint of Anise, Atman restores equilibrium while healing and softening the skin. Perfect to enjoy while mentally preparing for the day ahead, or for a few minutes of peaceful respite before bedtime. This is your secret place in the forest, hand-crafted and bottled just for you. “Jiva-Apoha” is Sanskrit for Soul-Healing. It’s where India meets Native American Wisdom and Ancient Medicine Man meets Modern Day Souls. From its signature oils to one-on-one sessions, Brooklyn based Jiva-Apoha is the first to combine the powerful healing practices of Ayurveda and Shamanism. Both of which have been around, relied upon, and healing people for thousands of years.