Neon makes me happy. It’s bright and cheerful and I love it in my wardrobe and in my art collection. It is especially significant now that our beautiful fall weather is about to give way to the dreariness of a rain-soaked Vancouver winter. Pull out the neon!
The first photo above is of my magnificent oil on canvas “Pigs Can Fly” by Vancouver artist and activist, the great Tiko Kerr. This piece was from his very inspired 2010 exhibition titled “Lush Life”. I feel privileged to call Tiko a friend. Check out www.tikokerr.com for more.
The second photo is of a fascinating piece of art – a 12 inch squared neon plexiglass box – that I picked up at a charity auction in 2010. It was one of those impulse purchases that I had an instant attraction to despite the fact that I had never heard of the artist. She is also local and her name is Patricia Shiplett. Both pieces are displayed in the entrance to my condo – an instant pick-me up when I step off the elevator….
Neon was featured quite predominantly in many fall fashion collections, particularly in accessories and I am very pleased to see it continue in the resort/cruise collections. A neon clutch is a perfect compliment to your favorite LBD…
Go bright or go home!
I stumbled upon a current interview with Gloria Steinem on TV over the weekend. The interviewer took to the streets of Toronto as part of the piece, to ask young women seemingly in their twenties, if they know who Gloria Steinem is. I was mortified to see the results… most of the young women had never heard of her. Suddenly I knew exactly what this week’s posting was going to be about!
In the 60′s and 70′s, Gloria Steinem became the poster girl for feminism all over the world. She was (and still is) a tireless social and poitical activist, a writer and an investigative journalist. The feminists fought for equal pay, education and opportunity for women. In my opinion, what set Gloria apart from the stereotypical activist was that she was beautiful and sexy. I think that this gave her huge credibility – being sexy and equal were not mutually exclusive. (By the way, nowadays, she is a stunning example of how good 77 can look!)
In a very recent PBS interview, Gloria was asked what made the 60′s a unique time. She answered, “I assumed you had to get married and you had to have children otherwise you were a little crazy…. It was the general idea that every person had to live a very similar life…The women’s movement brought the whole idea of uniqueness combined with community…but that you didn’t have to play a role – you could actually be an individual.”
You see, girls, we have so much to thank Gloria and the other staunch members of the Woman’s Liberation Movement for and yet we have much more to do…it is too soon to rest on our laurels. While I know that we have come a long way since the heyday of the movement, women who do not choose traditional marriage and children are still thought of as a little “crazy”…(Yes, I speak with some experience on this subject!) One only has to follow popular culture to see that the Cinderella effect is still alive and well, in fact thriving, and it remains the primary goal of an alarming number of young girls and women, to find their Prince Charming, their knight in shining armour.
Become your own soul mate, girls! Know that if you seek happiness from being with another, your happiness will be vulnerable and fleeting. Be truly comfortable in your own skin, live your own truth, realize your own full potential and dream your own irrepressible dreams! Only then will you be able to be a truly great wife and mother – if that is what you CHOOSE to be.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor and educate yourself about the great Gloria Steinem and the Women’s Liberation Movement. If nothing else, you will undoubtedly have one more thing to add to your gratitude journal tonight!
This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving – a weekend of friendship, abundant food and wine and most importantly, gratitude. Most of us understand the power of gratitude but require a good reminder every so often. Being grateful changes the way you look at things and as we know, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!
I found this fantastic quote today;
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie
Years ago, the Oprah Winfrey show introduced me to the book “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and her awesome concept of keeping a daily Gratitude Journal. The author advises us to find a beautiful blank page journal and to every day, write 5 things that we are grateful for – no matter how simple or momentous. I have turned to this solution at various challenging times in my life and have found it to be tremendously helpful. Now, I have decided to make it a consistent daily habit. What it does is changes one’s focus to what is good and because what we focus on expands, we attract more good!
I am grateful for countless people, animals, things and experiences in my life and I am even grateful for this INCREDIBLE Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that I have been making for Thanksgiving every year for the past 10 years! It is very popular with my guests and I am very happy and grateful that I get to share it with you ~ Enjoy.
Walnut Pumpkin Cheesecake
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup ground walnuts (or almonds)
2 tbsp butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups cream cheese (room temp)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pureed, cooked pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
Candied Walnuts (recipe follows)
Whipped Cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line base and sides of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and brush sides with 2 tbsp melted butter.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, ground walnuts and remaining melted butter. Mix together and pat into bottom and sides of pan. Chill crust in fridge while making filling.
In a food processor, cream together butter and cream cheese. Scrape down sides, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape sides again and beat in pumpkin.
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
Pour filling into chilled base. Bake cake in centre of oven for 1 hour. Leave oven door ajar, turn off heat and let cake sit in oven for 1 hour. Chill and remove from pan.
Decorate with candied walnuts and whipped cream if using.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnut halves
Bring water and 1/4 cup sugar to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Add walnuts and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Drain walnuts and roll in remaining sugar. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and dry for 1 hour.
(Now, go to the gym! Did I mention that I am very grateful for my trainer – the awesome Jitsu?!)
The bag that is now bringing beauty to someone else. Forgive the quality of the pic – It is a photo of an old photo!
I purchased a beautiful new Gucci bag in London in July 2010 on my way back home from a trip to South Africa. The bag that had accompanied me on this and many other previous adventures, was my old Dolce and Gabbana animal print tote that I had acquired years ago in a small boutique in Toronto. And now, while sitting in the BA lounge at Heathrow, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that it was time to pass her on, let her go, move forward.
I looked around the lounge for signs of a perfect match and all I saw was a sea of male staff. After a while, I caught sight of a tall woman with a tray clearing glasses and cups down at the far end of the room. She appeared to be in her thirties and someone who would dress with some degree of style if she wasn’t confined to an unimaginative uniform. I watched her for a moment and realized that she was the one; so I walked over to her and asked her to come to where I was sitting when she had a minute – I had something that I wanted to give her. She looked puzzled and skeptical as you can well imagine… perhaps I had Jehovah’s Witness literature to impart or I was offering some other wacky solution to eternal damnation.
Curiosity or a sense of duty got the better of her and she came over to my chair looking very cautious and reserved. “I want to give you this bag”, I said. “I have had many years of use from it and it’s time for me to pass it on. It is Dolce and Gabbana and still has the original certificate of authenticity in the pocket. You look like the perfect recipient.” She still looked a little skeptical so I added; “There is nothing weird here and no strings attached; all I ask is that you enjoy it and pass it on to someone else if and when you no longer use it.” “Are you for real?”, she asked and a smile developed that got broader by the second. “Really? Really? For me?”
“Yes, really for you”. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me before” she said. It seemed like she may have cried if she wasn’t so darn happy.
I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. She made my day and many others since for whenever I tell this story, I think about her and how such a small gesture seemed to mean to her and in turn, brings me so much joy.
I have always been pretty good about ridding my life of clutter but in recent days the Universal Force has been clearly indicating to me that I still have some unfinished business in this regard. Walking into my closet made me feel uneasy and scattered. Then, I came down with a cold forcing me to cancel my active weekend, look inward and spend time at home.
I am re-reading Bob Proctor’s book, ‘You were Born Rich” and quite fortuitously, the chapter that I happened to read in bed on Friday night is called “The Vacuum Law of Prosperity” – Quite simply, it means that nature abhors a vacuum so when you get rid of the old, you make room for the new. Bob states ” We hold on to old ideas and old things because we lack faith in our ability to obtain new ideas and new things. This..leads to..insecurity, which stems..from an inability to understand who and what, you are.”
OK, OK thanks…I GET it… No more signs needed….So I began to rid my closet of every single item that I do not wear or do not absolutely love. I did not sell it, I gave it all away. I felt so good and other life changing revelations started to come at me thick and fast. I feel free.
I realize that it is finally time, once and for all, to make a clean break from my “part-time” lover. Yes, I said “lover”…the man I have been sleeping with sporadically for many months. Our casual relationship has been wonderful for the time that it has lasted; perfect really. But now, for some reason, I am ready for a lover with whom I have a more meaningful and deeper connection. I now know for sure that he will not show up until I have definitively cleared the space.
I am so grateful for the wake-up call. Out with the old, in with the new. Bring it on!